The Great Model Debate

This month, Tattoo Tattoo have taken a pretty big risk. At a time when we’re still putting models on magazine covers and making tattoo magazines look more like lads’ mags out of fear of poor sales, Total Tattoo have opted for a hand drawn model this month instead.

Yes, it’s still a pinup in a way. You can only go so far at first, let’s be honest. However, it’s not a scantily clad lady with hardly any tattoos! This shouldn’t really be amazing news, but an art magazine has finally decided to put some actual art on the cover, and it couldn’t be better if it tried. This is something that I’ve been talking about for a long time, even back to the Tattoo Road Trip days with Bob Baxter. I’m not exactly a die-hard feminist, but I still don’t like the fact that pictures of undressed women are used to sell tattoo magazines, simply because it’s super boring and you can’t even see half of the tattoos on the model anyway. Total Tattoo have always been a hell of a lot classier than other magazines to begin with, and have always had nice looking models rather than total trash, but I think that this further step is definitely in the right direction.

The magazine took to Facebook this week to see what the reaction is to the cover- most people seem to absolutely love it! However, one thing seems very obvious from the comments: we want males on the cover, too!




I think that Total Tattoo would be doing a great thing by putting more artwork on their covers, but if they had some male models on the front I think that would be cool too. There are plenty of guys buying the magazine, why not represent them as much as the females? This has raised a few questions, I hope, not just with Total Tattoo but with other publishers out there. A bit of variety would go a long way, and I think they could boost sales rather than hurt them if it’s done right!

You can read the new issue of Total Tattoo, including more about their lovely cover, by clicking here or going to any good newsagent.


2 thoughts on “The Great Model Debate

  1. Before the internet, I followed tattoo magazines obsessively. Although on a superficial level I enjoyed seeing an attractive tattooed women on the covers, at my core I was very troubled by the fact that EVERY cover featured a scantily clad woman. In the early days of these magazines, when there weren’t a lot of women with large tattoos, often it was a woman showing acres of skin, with one small tattoo. It was just another example of objectification of women and exploiting them to sell. One of the magazines actually spoke to this subject in an editorial comment. They once put a man on the cover and found that the sales of that issue plummeted significantly compared to their average circulation. Basically they said, sorry but we need to put women on the cover to keep our sales up. I guess a real question is how far are you willing to go to boost sales, vs. what are you willing to sacrifice to take a stand against the exploitation of women.


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