Tattoos as Women's Self-Defense in Colonial India
July 14, 2014 10:38 PM   Subscribe

I met someone today who explained that their tattoo was based on a style adopted by Indian women during British Occupation which served as a way of turning off British men who might otherwise want to take them away for various unsavory purposes. The women would in some cases get these tattoos on their necks and faces. Although the person told me the Indian term for this particular style of tattooing I failed to write it down, and now cannot seem to google up this phenomenon. Was hoping someone knew about it, what it's called, or could provide some links to more information.
posted by cthuljew to Society & Culture (3 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
There's a small history of Indian tattoos here that includes photographs of different styles, if you can match that you would have better luck searching because there's a huge variety depending on region, caste etc. Tattoos for women go back a long time in India and were often used as decorations to increase a woman's attractiveness, not deter them - the story sounds a bit far-fetched IMO. There's also two research papers on British colonial use of tattoos in India and resistance of women to in colonial south asia that both touch on this, although more on how tattoos were co-opted to discriminate and harm people, not protect them.

Also try godna as a search phrase.
posted by viggorlijah at 11:29 PM on July 14, 2014 [2 favorites]

can you show a picture of the tatto or describe what it looks like
posted by radsqd at 9:17 AM on July 15, 2014

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