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Bow Tattoos: What Do They Mean And Where Should You Have One

As women we can spend hours getting ready to go out, choosing our clothes and putting on makeup. When you have a bow tattoo, you are already halfway there!

As women we can spend hours getting ready to go out, choosing our clothes and putting on makeup. When you have a bow tattoo, you are already halfway there!

The days when people were frowned upon for having a tattoo are long gone. These days, tattoos are rightly seen by many as an art form. The tattoos people choose are changing too. Tribal tattoos are more popular with men than skulls and anchors. Women are choosing designs to suit their personal tastes: flowers, stars, and butterflies are common, but bow tattoos are one of the most popular choices for women.

What do bows represent? Women and girls have historically worn bows on their clothes and in their hair as a sign of femininity. It is a logical progression to have them tattooed on the body, as another form of decoration.

Bows symbolize:

  • Feminity
  • Presentation of a gift
  • Remembrance
  • Strength
  • Love
  • Beauty
  • Union

Bows are ribbons that have been tied into a decorative and functional knot. Bows and knots are ancient symbols of strength, unions, ties that bind, loyalty, and beauty.

Of course, the color of a bow only adds to its symbolic meaning.

Bow Color Symbolism





Remembrance ("Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree")






Sophistication, sexiness, victory



Mystery, strength


Virtue, quality


Purity, innocence

Bow Tattoo Images

Bows are powerful symbols, so think carefully about which one might be suitable for you. Choose something that has personal significance for you; it is your statement to the world and it will be with you for a long time to come!

For a dazzling selection of bow tattoo ideas, visit this Pinterest image gallery.

Bow Tattoos: Where Should I Get One?


When choosing any tattoo, its position is a critical decision. Bow tattoos are no different. Think carefully where you want your tattoo inked; after all, it is difficult to move later!

There are personal and practical considerations to consider. If you work in a conservative environment or have a quieter personality, it may be best to have a tattoo that is easy to cover during working hours. Consider your hip or lower back. If, on the other hand, you are an extrovert who can, and wants, to display their tattoos all the time, a wrist or ankle tattoo would be a good choice.

Many women choose to have bows tattooed on their hips or shoulders. A particularly effective way of displaying a bow tattoos is to link them to an inked ribbon of the same color that loops around a finger, wrist, or ankle. In this way your tattoo can look like a piece of inked jewelry. Another popular choice is to place the bows on the back of the legs, above the Achilles tendon, and ink a line up the back of the calf. This design resembles a pair of sexy stockings and looks fantastic if you're wearing a pair of high heels.

A bow tied in a string around your finger can be used to remind you of something. Bow tattoos can be used in the same way, to remind you of the birth of a child or a special love.

Beautiful Black Lace Bow Tattoo Being Inked


Ryan on September 23, 2018:

(Disclaimer:I do not know this to be true and, therefore, I do not necessarily

Believe it.)

I have seen information that stated that the "Elite" as, well as Jewish people, do not get tattooed, or at least are very frowned upon for doing so. This is said to be because the pigment implantation process affects one's electrical energy field. Perhaps similar to how acupuncture effects the body, i dont know, but more permanent and without the understanding of its effects. I would assume that there is a reason and understanding behind "trbal" tattoos applied with traditional means by a knowledgeable tribesman, for specific inteded purposes, and i can imagine these tattoos may have some sort of "power", if you will.

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More than likely, the knowledge of how to use and apply these "Sigils" has been lost to, or at least occulted from, the general public.

What i find interesting, if there is truth to the information, is that those with the most likely ability to obtain and or occult the knowledge choose not to get tattooed. Coincidence?

Anyways, i find it fascinating to think about.

Snarky on May 13, 2018:

Okay, lots of stereotyping here. Some say tats are more accepted now than in the past. Well... apparently not so. It does look like there is a big stigma eith tats. Like it or not if you have one you are going to be judged for it. Personally, i dont have any, my scares are enough to tell where i have been. Im not being judgemental here, but if you want to reduce your ability to earn a living wage, get one on your face, neck, or hands. This will surely make you less likely to get a decent job. Now before you all start throwing rocks at my, i just quoted the national committee on employment for the united states house. They dont have tats by the way. It seems like exposed tats are the main issue. A jewelry store owner is the least likely to employ a person with exposed tats. I guess it would be okay if you only sold jewelry to bikers and trailer park queens. Again not my opinion, just statistical facts. There are places where you would expect to see them, bars, strip clubs, but not in the boardroom or anywhere a suit and tie might be expected.

Can a tat look good? Sure. Ive seen some that are in good taste and even considered getting one at one point. But it should mean something. Military, kids names, something.... surviving a terminal illness might be cause. Thing is once you get it, your stuck to it. What seems like a good idea today may be out of fashion tommorow. Too bad.

Bottom line, i dont think there is a thing wrong with getting a tat, if you really want it. They last forever. I'd recommend some discretion about placement. But be sure no matter where you get one, you are going to be judged by it. No matter what. If you are okay with that, then go for it. Just dint be foolish enough to think the rest of the world has to accept you. They probably won't.

Fay on March 22, 2018:

Luv my's a bow ribbon on my left ring finger. just love it and its adorable.


Harry on August 21, 2017:

they look like crap on the back of a girls legs

Stefan Dobrev on May 21, 2017:

Tats look HOT on a lady .as long as it in good taste.

Arnhem on February 22, 2017:

'make poor life choices'.

Wow, you must have seen a lot of life already, you know it all, we should ask you how to live our lives, you're the example for a perfect existence...

But you're right on one thing: you don't get it. Yet. Grow up, grow older, grow wiser.

Have a nice life, don't judge, warm regards from the Netherlands.

Holly on October 30, 2016:

Bianca is right. The only people I know with bow tattoos are higly promiscuous, or at least were at the time of the tatting. Not judging promiscuity, you do you. Just saying.

Amanda on April 17, 2016:

I'd just like to say how ignorant judgemental & small minded Bianca above sounds!

Who on earth can judge so many and such a wide variety of people because they have decided to express them selves with body art.

"The only difference between tattooed people and non-tattooed people is that tattooed people don't mind or judge if your not!"

I just don't get it. on October 27, 2015:

I googled "tattoos trashy people get" to try to find out why so many people have ugly tattoos of almost the same thing.

I work as a traveling human resources middle manager for a national snack company and have been trying all week to find 10 people to fill positions in our Houston division.

The qualifications are pretty low:

1. No felony, violent misdemeanor, or dishonorable military discharge.

2. Ability to answer phone, type 24 words per minute, and ability to lift up to 15 pounds occasionally.

3. No visible tattoos, no unnatural hair colors (blue, fire engine red, orange, purple) no visible piercings except women are allowed earings.

4. Ability to pass a reading comprehension test at the fourth grade reading level.

Those are the only qualifications. My division has taken over 80 applications. All 80+ of these applicants passed the criminal elements and the reading comprehension elements. Only THREE could pass the physical element of not looking like a fool.

I have only this week come to realize that certain tattoos mean certain things (I think) here is what my unscientific observation has concluded:

1. Women with bow tattoos have questionable morals and work history.

2. Women with chest tattoos have questionable morals, poor hygiene, and are usually single mothers who bring screaming kids to job interviews.

3. Men with barbed wire or tribal tattoos are usually old guys who were once addicted to drugs or alcohol and have now "gotten their shit together" often with the help of a 12 step program.

4. Neck tattoos of any type means that you are probably on methamphetamine.

5. Tattoos of dandelions turning into birds are common with poor redneck types - these types also like tattoos of: the Chevy truck logo, Texas, the Flag, The Texas flag, USA, or 9-11.

6. Girls who make poor life choices often have tattoos of: birds, words or quotes, compass, flowers, humming birds.

I have been all over the country working in HR and with the exception of Cleveland, Houston has the absolute worst looking candidates. I am amazed that here in the Bible belt where the expectation is that everyone would look normal, that it is so hard to find any normal looking applicants.

How do these people ever expect to get a job? I personally don't find tattoos that reprehensible, I only realize that they are a social class signifier. My board of directors, and those in higher positions however (and our clients who come to our corporate distribution centers) are all high status individuals who are not exposed to tattoos.

My boss gave me the example: he wakes up and his housekeeper gets his coffee - she has no tattoos. His car service drives him to work - the driver has no tattoos and wears a tie. He sits in meetings all day with other white guys with no tattoos who wear suits and ties. He will ocassionaly take off a day to go to the country club to play golf, or to the Yacht club to go sailing - no tattoos in those places. My boss only eats out one or two meals a week and always at fine dining restaurants where there are no tattoos (maybe in the kitchen, but he can't see that.)

The point is that most people that are at least normal or better income wise probably do not experience many people with tattoos. My boss is an extreme example of how the 1% probably never see tattoos at all - except on TV or when they are walking from their city house to their car - they might see a homeless or some street person with tattoos.

So why do people want tattoos? I don't get it.

Bianca on March 26, 2015:

Now tats mean you are trashy.

I am a bartender at a seedy strip club. 2/3 of the girls here have a bow tat.

I am not saying only strippers get these, I am just trying to figure out why so many strippers are attracted to bow tats.

Amor on May 30, 2013:

I got mine today and its my 7th tattoo, so awesome i love it. It is on my lower middle finger and it red it looks like a pretty girly girl ring!!!!

*freakin love body art, its sick*

Desiree on May 09, 2012:

I just got mine on my left shoulder (: I love it so much, it's beautiful. I get so many compliments on it so far, and I haven't even colored it yet :P

Jamila on February 22, 2012:

I just got mines on my shoulder it's really cute I want another on the other side :)))

Eden on February 10, 2012:

would you recommend a bow on my wrist or on my hip ive wanted one since i was 12 and im 13 im gonna get it when i turn 18 which is more suitable for work social and not off putting

boo on February 08, 2012:

I just got the prettiest bow tattoo on my ankle and I love it so much, I'm so happy with it :)

Arii on December 29, 2011:

i just got one behind my ear..a small blue ribbon and its so adorable..for sure my favorite so far :]

monica on October 30, 2011:

I jst got mines on the inner part of my shoulder blade && its my favorite one !! It's pink wit cheetah print inside

Sara on August 27, 2010:

I have a bow on my inner left wrist off to the side and I LOVEEEE it! I tossed around the idea for a year and finally got it this passed March. I always get compliments on it :]

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