Graduation Date

Spring 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Sociology

Committee Chair Name

Michihiro Sugata

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Anthony Silvaggio

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



Younger generations, and specifically women, are receiving tattoos in much larger numbers than ever before in the United States (Thompson 2015). However, this does not mean the stigma of tattoos has necessarily shifted. People get tattoos for a variety of reasons, and those reasons may vary by gender. Women are currently becoming heavily tattooed in much larger numbers compared to men (Thompson 2015). There is a lack of literature asking women why they choose tattooing as a form of body modification, and how it may help to define or express themselves. There continues to be a lack of research done on how women who choose to become heavily tattooed perceive themselves. To understand women’s self-perceptions of themselves and their tattoos, I will conduct 15 to 20 qualitative interviews with heavily tattooed women, or self-identified women with five or more tattoos. These women will be located in Humboldt County, California and Mesa County, Colorado (during summer 2018). In Humboldt County, I will recruit respondents by posting flyers around HSU campus, attending tattoo conventions to make connections and pass out flyers, and through snowball sampling. In Colorado, I will recruit at local tattoo parlors and through my personal social networks. During the interviews, I will also take a photo of the two tattoos or pieces the women find most meaningful, and ask the respondents to share the story behind those two pieces, specifically.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location