Under the Skin: Harassment in the Tattoo Industry and Beyond
Needles buzz to music on the speakers and the metallic scent of ink fills the florescent-lit room on the Square in Denton.
Deanna Smith, 24, is intently focused on her client while seated around antique art. She is creating a new piece of art on her client’s arm.
Smith has been a practicing tattoo artist for seven years and has been a full-time artist for three years. She moved to Denton to specifically work at Dark Age Tattoo Studio.
As a beginner artist, she said she had to work compared to her male counterparts. She said the tattoo industry is still old school with its hazing and sexism.
“Being a female is the reason why my apprenticeship was so long and the reason I have to work harder than I feel like a lot of other people is because of that fact,” Smith said. “Because people may not see that I can achieve as much as I can. So, when you are a beginner you just kind of have to fight those stereotypes.”
Female tattoo artists are a rarity in tattoo shops, Smith said.
“It’s a very masculine art form still,” Smith said. “I feel like a lot of women aren’t very interested yet in tattooing. I have seen a lot more interested, but they’ll try to get into the industry and they’ll also see how difficult it can be for us and maybe not want to go through with it. It is very hard for a lady to get into the industry, so you have to put in that extra work.”
Smith is an average height woman, beautiful, with cat eye glasses, long burgundy hair tied back to expose her heart-shaped face, accented with a cheek piercing and nude colored makeup. Her ensemble is composed of mostly black garments. She wears a low-cut crop top tank, leggings and slightly open-toed heels to match. Smith completes the look with a blue and white flannel tied around her waist.
Francisco “Frank” Sanchez, 28, owner of Dark Age Tattoo Studio said there may be a lack of female tattoo artists.
“Well I think it’s not always the right environment for females in the industry,” Sanchez said.
But that doesn’t stop him from hiring females.
“If you notice at our studio, we have four female artists and it works great,” Sanchez said.
In the past, as described by Sanchez, Dark Age was looking for a female apprentice and was unfortunately met with backlash from their followers on social media.
“Whenever we were seeking a new one we were like man, I think it’d be great if we had a girl you know we have so many girls that get tattooed here and I think it can definitely be great for an environment,” Sanchez said. “We got a lot of backlash for it, social media saying that it wasn’t fair, that we were discriminating and we’re like no, that’s not true, if any guy came to us and showed us a decent portfolio, we’d hire him.”
Sanchez wanted to find a female apprentice because he understood, based off his female employees’ experience and hardship, that it was difficult for them to get into the industry. No matter what a person’s sex, color or gender, Sanchez would give a tattoo artist an apprenticeship that deserved it.
Shaunti Cameron, 31, another Dark Age artist who has practiced for four years, said it’s not easy being a female tattoo artist.
“There really just isn’t a lot of female tattoo artists in the industry,” Cameron said. “Last I heard it was about 10 percent. I think by now the number has gone up but not by a whole lot. This is a very male dominated industry and it has been since basically the beginning and that can be pretty intimidating for a lot of women to work in.”
Cameron said she ran into her fair share of issues as a female artist when she first started.
“Sometimes women encounter a lot of problems, like myself,” Cameron said. “I just couldn’t get anyone to talk to me just because I was a girl.”
Not only do female artists have the struggle just to make their way into the industry, they also face being sexualized just for being inked, Smith said.
“Sometimes it’s a not so great thing to get so noticed and it’s been giving me a lot of anxiety to go to places even if it’s going to a bar or something,” Smith said. “I just got this one guy kicked out because he just wouldn’t stop talking to me and the first thing he said was ‘I see you have tattoos, does that mean you’re naughty or something?’”
Females within the industry are not the only ones who feel looked down upon or sexualized. Female students who have gotten tattoos suffer the same ridicule and foul treatment.
Bryn Crowell, 22, a senior International Studies major at the University of North Texas is tattooed and pierced. She discusses what treatment she has gotten from complete strangers just for her body modifications.
“Because I have piercings in a sexualized place, that gives them the ability to sometimes touch me in a joking manner,” she said.
Bailey Hughes, 21, a senior biochemistry major, said that her boyfriend did not like that she had tattoos, though they are not visible to the public.
Dark Age Tattoo Studio is the place of acceptance and opportunity and Smith enjoys her career here.
“It’s an amazing shop,” Smith said. “We have working artists and the owners are some of the biggest in the industry so it’s really just a pleasure to learn from everyone and it’s in the heart of the Square. It’s just a great location for clients in general.”
Apply to Write for Uloop NewsJoin the Uloop News Team
Discuss This Article
More Uloop Business Articles
Recent SF State News Articles
SF STATE Housing Listings
WRITE FOR ULOOPApply to Write for Uloop News
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
TOP 5 NEWS ARTICLES
BROWSE OTHER COLLEGES
- By CollegeUC Santa BarbaraCal PolyUC DavisUC IrvineUC San DiegoUC Santa CruzStanford UniversityUCLACal Poly PomonaCSU ChicoCSU FullertonCSU Long BeachCSU NorthridgeCSU SacramentoUC BerkeleyPepperdine UniversitySan Diego StateSan Francisco State UniversitySan Jose State UniversityUSCCalifornia State University-San BernardinoCalifornia State University-FresnoCalifornia State University-Los AngelesUC RiversideCalifornia Institute of TechnologyCalifornia State University-Dominguez HillsCalifornia State University-East BayOccidental CollegeLoyola Marymount UniversityCabrillo CollegeAlliant International UniversityAzusa Pacific UniversityAntelope Valley CollegeBakersfield CollegeBiola UniversityBrooks Institute of PhotographyCalifornia Baptist UniversityClaremont McKenna CollegeCalifornia Pacific UniversityCalifornia State University Monterey BayCuesta CollegeConcordia University IrvineCalifornia State University Channel IslandsDiablo Valley CollegeBethany UniversitySanta Barbara City CollegeFive Branches UniversityWest Valley CollegeWestmont CollegeUC MercedUC Hastings College of the LawPalomar CollegeSaint Mary's CollegeSonoma State UniversitySierra CollegeChapman UniversitySaddleback CollegePacific Union CollegePierce CollegePasadena City CollegeFeather River CollegeCalifornia Culinary AcademyMira Costa CollegeLos Rios Community College DistrictLas Positas CollegeGrossmont CollegeIrvine Valley CollegeMenlo CollegeAllan Hancock CollegeHumboldt State UniversityUniversity of San DiegoUniversity of San FranciscoLoma Linda UniversityFullerton CollegeSanta Clara UniversityChabot CollegeFoothill CollegeNational UniversityButte CollegeAcademy of Art UniversityWhittier CollegeLincoln UniversityMerced CollegeCalifornia State University-BakersfieldSanta Monica CollegeMt. San Jacinto CollegeCoast Community College DistrictRiverside Community CollegeUniversity of the PacificPomona CollegeLa Sierra UniversityScripps Research InstituteDe Anza CollegeGrossmount-Cuyamaca Community CollegeAmerican Intercontinental UniversityArt Center College of DesignCalifornia College of the ArtsCalifornia Institute of Integral StudiesCalifornia Institute of the ArtsCalifornia Lutheran UniversityCSU San MarcosCalifornia State University-StanislausClaremont Graduate UniversityClaremont McKenna CollegeDominican University of CaliforniaEx-Pression College for Digital ArtsFielding Graduate UniversityFresno Pacific UniversityFuller Theological SeminaryGolden Gate UniversityHoly Names UniversityJohn F Kennedy UniversityMills CollegeMount St Mary's CollegeMusicians InstituteNaval Postgraduate SchoolNotre Dame de Namur UniversityOtis College of Art and DesignPacific Oaks CollegePoint Loma Nazarene UniversitySamuel Merritt CollegeSimpson UniversityThe Art Institute of California-Los AngelesThe Art Institute of California-Orange CountyThe Art Institute of California-San DiegoThe Art Institute of California-San FranciscoThe Fashion Institute of Design & MerchandisingThe Master's College and SeminaryUC San FranciscoUniversity of La VerneUniversity of RedlandsVanguard University of Southern CaliforniaPeralta CollegeWestern University of Health SciencesWoodbury UniversityCity College of San FranciscoCalifornia Institute of the Healing Arts and SciencesCypress CollegeEast Los Angeles CollegeLos Angeles City CollegeCollege of MarinOhlone CollegePitzer CollegeSouthern California Institute of ArchitectureScripps CollegeWorld Mission UniversityThe Wright InstituteCerro Coso Community CollegeCollege of the DesertSan Diego City CollegeArgosy UniversityImperial Valley CollegeModesto Junior CollegeShasta CollegeCollege of San MateoCollege of SiskiyousLassen Community CollegeVentura CollegeNewSchool of Architecture + DesignAmerican River College Barstow Community College DistrictBerkeley City College Citrus CollegeCoastline Community College College of Alameda College of the Siskiyous Contra Costa College Contra Costa Community College DistrictCosumnes River College Cuyamaca College El Camino College-Compton Community Ed CenterEvergreen Valley College Fresno City College Glendale Community College (CA)Laney College Long Beach City College Los Angeles Harbor College Los Angeles Mission College Los Angeles Southwest College Los Angeles Trade-Technical CollegeMoorpark College Mt San Antonio College North Orange County Community College DistrictOrange Coast College Palo Verde College Porterville College Reedley College Rio Hondo College Sacramento City College San Diego Community College DistrictSan Diego Mesa College San Diego Miramar College San Joaquin Delta College San Jose City College San Jose-Evergreen Community College DistrictSkyline College Solano Community College South Orange County Community College DistrictState Center Community College DistrictTaft College Ventura County Community College DistrictVictor Valley CollegeWest Hills Community College- CoalingaWest Hills Community College DistrictWest Hills Community College-LemooreWest Los Angeles College Woodland Community College Yosemite Community College DistrictYuba CollegeFashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San DiegoFashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-San FranciscoAcademy for Jewish Religion-CaliforniaAcademy for Salon ProfessionalsAcademy of Esthetics and CosmetologyAdvance Beauty CollegeAdvance Beauty Techs AcademyAdvanced Career InstituteAdvanced CollegeAdvanced Computing InstituteAlhambra Beauty CollegeAlliant International University-FresnoAlliant International University-IrvineAlliant International University-Los AngelesAlliant International University-SacramentoAlliant International University-San DiegoAlliant International University-San FranciscoAllied American UniversityAmerican Baptist Seminary of the WestAmerican Beauty CollegeAmerican Career College at St FrancisAmerican Career College-AnaheimAmerican Career College-Long BeachAmerican Career College-Los AngelesAmerican Career College-OntarioAmerican College of HealthcareAmerican College of Traditional Chinese MedicineAmerican Conservatory TheaterAmerican Institute of Massage TherapyAmerican Jewish UniversityAmerican Medical Sciences CenterAngeles InstituteAnnenberg School of NursingAntioch University-Los AngelesArgosy University-San DiegoAshdown College of Health SciencesAsher CollegeAsian American International Beauty CollegeAssociated Technical College-Los AngelesATEP at IVCATI College-NorwalkAvance Beauty CollegeAveda Institute-Los AngelesBaldwin Park Adult & Community EducationBay Area Medical AcademyBay Area Medical Academy - San Jose Satellite LocationBeaumont Adult SchoolBellus Academy-El CajonBellus Academy-National CityBellus Academy-PowayBethel Seminary-San DiegoBethesda UniversityBeyond 21st Century Beauty AcademyBlake Austin CollegeBlake Austin College Beauty AcademyBrand CollegeCalifornia Beauty SchoolCalifornia Career CollegeCalifornia Career InstituteCalifornia Christian CollegeCalifornia College San DiegoCalifornia Hair Design AcademyCalifornia Healing Arts CollegeCalifornia Miramar UniversityCalifornia Nurses Educational InstituteCalifornia Western School of LawCambridge Junior College-WoodlandCambridge Junior College-Yuba CityCanada CollegeCareer Academy of BeautyCareer Care InstituteCareer College of CaliforniaCareer Development Institute IncCareer Networks InstituteCarrington College-Citrus HeightsCarrington College-PomonaCarrington College-SacramentoCarrington College-San JoseCarrington College-San LeandroCasa Loma College-Anaheim CampusCasa Loma College-Van NuysCentral California SchoolCentral Coast CollegeCerritos CollegeCES CollegeCET-CoachellaCET-El CentroCET-OxnardCET-SacramentoCET-San BernardinoCET-San DiegoCET-Santa MariaCET-SobratoCET-SoledadCET-WatsonvilleCharles A Jones Career and Education CenterCharles R Drew University of Medicine and ScienceCharter College-Canyon CountryChurch Divinity School of the PacificCinta Aveda InstituteClaremont School of TheologyClovis Adult EducationCoachella Valley Beauty CollegeCoachella Valley Beauty College-BeaumontCoast Career InstituteCoastline Beauty CollegeCogswell CollegeColeman UniversityCollege of the CanyonsCollege of the RedwoodsCollege of the SequoiasColton-Redlands-Yucaipa Regional Occupational ProgramColumbia College-HollywoodComputer Training AcademyComputer Tutor Business and Technical InstituteConcorde Career College-Garden GroveConcorde Career College-North HollywoodConcorde Career College-San BernardinoConcorde Career College-San DiegoCopper Mountain Community CollegeCosmo Beauty AcademyCosmo Factory Cosmetology AcademyCrafton Hills CollegeCRU InstituteDesign Institute of San DiegoDiamond Beauty CollegeDominican School of Philosophy & TheologyDongguk University-Los AngelesDowney Adult SchoolElite Cosmetology SchoolEverest College-AlhambraEverest College-AnaheimEverest College-City of IndustryEverest College-GardenaEverest College-ResedaEverest College-West Los AngelesFashion Institute of Design & Merchandising-Orange CountyFederico Beauty InstituteFlair Beauty CollegeFolsom Lake CollegeFour-D CollegeFranciscan School of TheologyFredrick and Charles Beauty CollegeFremont CollegeGalaxy Medical CollegeGavilan CollegeGemological Institute of America-CarlsbadGolden Gate University-Los AngelesGolden Gate University-Silicon ValleyGolden State College of Court ReportingGrace Mission UniversityGraduate Theological UnionGurnick Academy of Medical ArtsHacienda La Puente Adult EducationHair California Beauty AcademyHeald College-ConcordHeald College-ModestoHeald College-RosevilleHeald College-SalinasHeald College-San JoseHeald College-StocktonHigh Desert Medical CollegeHilltop Beauty SchoolHinton Barber CollegeHomestead SchoolsHorizon UniversityHumphreys College-ModestoHumphreys College-Stockton and Modesto CampusesHypnosis Motivation InstituteInfoTech Career CollegeInstitute for Business and TechnologyInstitute of Technology IncIntegrity College of HealthInterCoast Colleges-BurbankInterCoast Colleges-CarsonInterCoast Colleges-Elk GroveInterCoast Colleges-FairfieldInterCoast Colleges-OrangeInterCoast Colleges-RosevilleInterior Designers InstituteInternational College of CosmetologyInternational Culinary Center-CaliforniaInternational Polytechnic InstituteInternational School of Beauty IncInternational Technological UniversityITT Technical Institute-ConcordITT Technical Institute-CoronaITT Technical Institute-Culver CityITT Technical Institute-LathropITT Technical Institute-OaklandITT Technical Institute-OxnardITT Technical Institute-Rancho CordovaITT Technical Institute-San DimasITT Technical Institute-SylmarITT Technical Institute-TorranceJohn Wesley International Barber and Beauty CollegeKaplan College-BakersfieldKaplan College-ModestoKaplan College-North HollywoodKaplan College-Palm SpringsKaplan College-RiversideKaplan College-SacramentoKaplan College-VistaLaguna College of Art and DesignLawrence & Company College of CosmetologyLe Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-PasadenaLeMelange Academy of HairLife Chiropractic College WestLife Pacific CollegeLos Angeles CenterLos Angeles College of MusicLos Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied HealthLos Angeles ORT College-Los Angeles CampusLos Angeles ORT College-Van Nuys CampusLu Ross AcademyLyles Bakersfield College of BeautyLyles Fresno College of BeautyMadera Beauty CollegeMake-up DesignoryManchester Beauty CollegeMarinello School of Beauty-BakersfieldMarinello School of Beauty-Castro ValleyMarinello School of Beauty-ChicoMarinello School of Beauty-FresnoMarinello School of Beauty-HaywardMarinello School of Beauty-MurrietaMarinello School of Beauty-NapaMarinello School of Beauty-PalmdaleMarinello School of Beauty-ReddingMarinello School of Beauty-ResedaMarinello School of Beauty-San BernardinoMarinello School of Beauty-San MateoMarinello School of Beauty-San RafaelMarinello School of Beauty-StocktonMarinello School of Beauty-WhittierMarinello Schools of Beauty-BellMarinello Schools of Beauty-City of IndustryMarinello Schools of Beauty-HemetMarinello Schools of Beauty-Huntington BeachMarinello Schools of Beauty-Lake ForestMarinello Schools of Beauty-LomitaMarinello Schools of Beauty-Los AngelesMarinello Schools of Beauty-Moreno ValleyMarinello Schools of Beauty-ParamountMarinello Schools of Beauty-Santa ClaraMarinello Schools of Beauty-Simi ValleyMarinello Schools of Beauty-VictorvilleMarinello Schools of Beauty-VisaliaMarshall B Ketchum UniversityMarymount California UniversityMarymount University - Waterfront CampusMayfield CollegeMediaTech Institute-OceansideMedical Allied Career CenterMendocino CollegeMerritt CollegeMiami Ad School-San FranciscoMilan Institute of Cosmetology-FairfieldMilan Institute of Cosmetology-VisaliaMilan Institute-MercedMilan Institute-Palm DesertMission CollegeModern Technology SchoolMoler Barber CollegeMonterey Institute of International StudiesMonterey Peninsula College
- By State
- By City