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Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo Paperback – October, 1997
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An indelible account of an indelible piece of cultural history. -- Barbara Kruger, artist
An outstanding read, and long-overdue addition to the growing body of literature on tattooing -- Intertnational Tattooing
Bodies of Subversion is a comprehensive and clear-eyed account of tattooing and women in Western society over the past century. Margot Mifflinfurthers understanding of this complex art as it exists among women. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the subject. -- Don E. Hardy, renowned tattooist and historian
In this provocative work full of intriguing female characters from tattoo history, Margot Mifflin makes a persuasive case for the tattooed woman as an emblem of female self-expression. -- Susan Faludi, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Backlash
About the Author
Margot Mifflin writes about women, art, and contemporary culture. She has written for The New York Times, ARTnews, Entertainment Weekly, The Believer, and Salon.com, and she lectures about body modification at colleges, museums, and universities nationally. Mifflin is an associate professor in the English Department of Lehman College of the City University of New York (CUNY), and directs the Arts and Culture program at CUNY's Graduate School of Journalism, where she also teaches. Her book, The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman was published by The University of Nebraska in 2009. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
I don't know what anyone really interested in tattoo artistry could do without this. It's not just some waffly rah-rah 'ink chicks through history' throwaway. This really is an absolute essential for any tattoo history and historical seminal tattoo artist, OR even just 'what about all the Other tattoos, besides the noble and ubiquitous Sailor Jerry / Ed Hardy etc styles.
I'm not sure which made my head explode more. The number of hardcore artists who's work we've seen and seen copied, but who (surprise!) happen to be women, the gorgeous illustrations showing what I would NEVER have seen or known otherwise- early (victorian / edwardian era early tattoos- which I had no clue existed beyond sailor and port shops) were actually EXTREMELY well done and extremely patriotic, elaborately well framed and shaded portraits, anatomically (think 'audubon' quality) butterflies, birds and wildlife, intricate costume like lacework ends to tattoo sleeves and leggings- tons of deeply thought out well-excecuted patriotic drawings- IN tattoo, or the clobberingly well researched and well documented history of tattoos and society- PRIOR to what I always thought WAS 'the dawn of tattoos in the US- that 30's-50's era sailor and hotrodder artwork. Yes it's great and I love it. But how many people know that beloved SJ and Ed Hardy etc, that was the SECOND wave and a whole SECOND style of tattoo? There was a world of talent and a whole society (even high 'society lady') tattoo well before the sailor and flapper era? I didn't. That makes this book invaluable for anyone, and not (not hardly) just for 'women tattoo artists' or 'women issue historians'.
This is anyone's 'missing era of tattoo history, complete with great photos" essential. If you don't have the thousands of dollars for ALL the tattoo and tattoo history books you want, this is one that cannot go missing from your shelves. Margot Mifflin does a sh*t-ton of genuine scholarship on tattoos (women-centric but well beyond), includes tons of artistic as well as hard to find documentary photography, and has a real gift for accessible vivid but also accurate, narrative.
If you think this is a great gift for the 'lady tattoo artist or follower' in your life, you're right. But you are only half-right. Because this is a really visually stunning (and so, well worth the $$ right there- a spot-on No Regrets purchase for anyone at all who 'likes tattoos' of any kind) but also a Must-to-Have for any tattoo style and or tattoo history collection.
If this lands in every 'woman's art and social history' collection, great. But it would be a crime against history and against tattoo especially if this weren't a staple read and look - in every tattoo person's or even just art and culture history person's collection. And for under $20, compared to the honking high prices of tattoo books- this is a total value as well.