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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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Understand the Trend: Moth Tattoos

There is definitely a stigma in the tattoo world of getting a “white girl tattoo.” Anchors, feathers, swallows, any quotes written in cursive (whether it be biblical, personal, or from a song), or anything to do with an infinity sign are almost taboo because of how mainstream they have become (weird, right?).

“White Girl” Tattoo (via

There is even a “typical white girl tattoo” form that went viral, which depicts an alleged form from an ink parlor that has all of the “girly” tattoo styles, a slightly condescending header above a space to write a word or quote that you desire, and then the “stereotypical girl placements” for the tattoo, with sarcastic additions showing the artist’s thoughts about how the girls want their bodies tattooed. Hopefully the form is a fake that was just made for some malicious fun.


Personally, I hate how we look down on women for following trends. We tell women to fit in at all costs, but then when they actually like things that are trendy we tell them that they are unoriginal, unimaginative, or basic, when in reality lots of these tattoos have meaning to many of these women. My own best friend was looking at getting a feather on her foot because it is a symbol she uses to calm herself down from anxiety attacks. Another friend of mine got swallows to symbolize the release from her depression. Many of my friends have anchors with biblical quotes to show their devotion to the religion that they’ve chosen to live by. Just because it is popular, doesn’t mean we should put down the women that like it.

“White Girl” Tattoo (via DeviantArt)

So, in order to attempt to destigmatize many styles such as these, I’ve decided to look deeper into some trends in the alternative world that have been deemed too “main stream” by our growingly cynical society. I’m going to look into how the trend started, what the common meanings for the tattoos are, and possibly pinpoint why they have struck a chord with our society. Of course, female tattoos as well as the current “edgy” female hair styles are easy starts since they are often targets of public ridicule, but I will also look into the male trends as we go along.

This week’s trend is moth tattoos, which I find to be interesting. Of course, being a Colorado resident for more than 15 years now, when I think of moths, I think of miller moths, the annoying, flaky little creatures that seem to take over just when spring turns into summer. However, the symbolism of a moth is actually very intricate and beautiful, and it may be something that connects with many people on a deeper level.

Moth tattoo (via Flickr)

“Moth finds its way following the moonlight and in its absence, man`s artificial lights,” said TattooBox, a UK ink parlor and blog. “Her persistence to follow the light, trusting her instincts and ignoring or defying danger, makes it so spontaneous and determined as vulnerable at the same time. Something that reminds us our need to “listen” our deeper instincts, our intuition, even having our dreams as guides in the dark hours of our lives that nothing is as we saw it bathed in daylight. For that, the moth symbolizes the development of intuition and psychic powers as well.”

With the new cultural focus on self-care and inner awareness, moth tattoos have been more and more popular. Many feel more akin to moths instead of butterflies, since moths have a rugged beauty that lacks the feel of perfection that some butterflies can have. The symbol of new beginning and the beauty of transformation is also popular in mainstream media due to the cultural push for self-improvement and the beauty of self-change.

“There is a certain vanity associated with the moth sometimes – dancing around a flame, craving light,” commented Dionne, a tattoo artist and blogger. “The moth has a fragile vulnerability. Influenced by the moon, they may carry some of the moons symbolism, such as intuition and revealing that which has been hidden. Just like butterflies, moths are metamorphic, and are ancient symbols for change, transformation, and new directions.”

Moth Tattoos (via Flickr)

Kaley Cucco, the actress that portrays Penny on the popular sitcom “The Big Bang Theory”, just recently got a tattoo of a moth across her shoulder blades. You could say it symbolized the change and new direction of her life, as it was a cover for the Roman numerals of her wedding date with her ex-husband, Ryan Sweeting, that she had tattooed in between her blades .

For your new year and new start, how about a new moth tattoo to symbolize the beginning of your journey? Would you ever get a moth tattoo? Let us know in the comments!!

Collegian Blogger Sarah Ross can be reached online at or on Twitter at @HowSarahTweets. Read more of her content on or at under Music. Leave a comment!


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