When Britney and Christina Aguilera revealed their lower back tattoos they were the talk of the town, decades later, these iconic tattoos are making a comeback, along with everything else 90s.
90s Style Tramp Stamps Are Making A Comeback
Tattoo art has grown, morphed, innovated and almost been perfected in the past few decades. From being a rarity, it seems tattoos have finally shaken their association with gang culture and become mainstream.
One iconic tattoo style that pushed them into the mainstream was the tramp stamp. The lower back tattoo was made iconic by the likes of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera who debuted the sexy placement on the red carpet.
The two, sporting butterflies and letters faced the brunt of societal judgment, being called trashy and dealing with sexist comments at the time.
Today, the tattoo is coming back stronger than ever and is a reclamation of female sexuality that the world handled with so much spite back in the day.
The list back then wasn’t short either. Drew Barrymore and Nicole Richie both had tattoos on their lower back but had them removed at a later time.
The most controversial one of them all was perhaps one that isn’t even real. In 2013, Mattel released a Barbie sporting a Ken heart tattoo on her lower back.
It almost seemed like the early 2000s would be the last bastion of the tramp stamp and that we would no longer see these iconic placements.
Society however is not the same. Gone are the stigmas associated with tattoos or female sexuality and the two now liberated concepts have come together to embrace and reclaim the lower back tattoo or more colloquially known as the tramp stamp.
Kyle England, a tattoo artist said that he gave someone a small lower back tattoo a matter of weeks ago. The design was a small lamb but he hopes for this movement to kick back up and really embrace its rebellious roots.
21-year-old model Neon also adorned her lower back with a small but intricate band. Not only has she reclaimed the design, but she has also reclaimed the name. She says that the words ‘tramp stamp’ is no longer offensive to her.
“I’ll say [to people who use the term in a derogatory way], only the baddest of them all tramp around town like it’s their own. I’m not at all worried about the label of the tattoo. It’s iconic and a trend will always be a trend.”
Cherry Kim of Rhee Studio also said, “I honestly don't find the placement offensive or intrusive. I remember being a pre-teen and seeing older girls wear low-rise track pants and jeans with an exposed thong and 'tramp stamp,' and thinking it looked so cool,” she says. “I'm just trying to fulfil my fantasy.”
The ‘tramp stamp’ moniker having deeply misogynistic roots has also found reclamation with women and queer youth. Along with comes the reclamation of the ‘bimbo’ aesthetic which associated sexual promiscuity with lack of intelligence. These movements shed the objectification of the tramp stamp and its associated assumptions.
Aliona Kryeziu, a 19 year old TikToker aslso got a lower back tattoo and said, “I got it a week before my 19th birthday last year because I wear my pants really low and wanted something cute to show through. Some people say ‘tramp stamp’ in a rude tone like it will offend me, but it doesn’t. My Mom told me not to get it, but now she thinks it’s cute.”
Shima, a 17 year old got herself a Hello Kitty lower back tattoo. “I just found them beautiful and made it my mission to get on as soon as possible… [I] didn’t want to take it too seriously,”
“One of my friends even sat me down to tell me that I really should reconsider due to the aspect of men seeing me as ‘whore’ or a ‘slut’ with that sort of tattoo. I did think about the consequences that come with having a lower back tattoo and how people will perceive me with a lower back tattoo, but I wanted to do what makes me happy and not worry about how I will be treated with one.”
One must wonder why basic acts are often objectified and sexualized in women even though they might not be in men. This reclamation of the style and the term ‘tramp stamp’ is a step further to unraveling such issues and normalizing feminine being and sexuality.