While browsing through TikTok, you may have come across medusa tattoo ideas and wondered what they meant. Unsurprisingly, the hashtag #medusatattoo has over 550 million views on TikTok.
Ever wondered what it means? Many people have black outlines of a Medusa head with venomous snakes on their bodies, a feminist symbol for survivors.
Read on as I tell you more about it.
CHECK: 10 Best Beginner Tattoo Ideas
Table of Contents
- Stories from Greek mythology tell that Medusa was punished for being sexually assaulted.
- Now, the Medusa tattoo design is a symbol of survival and courage.
- You can opt for a traditional tattoo style or opt for bold lines and colors.
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What Does a Medusa Tattoo Mean?
Medusa has often been portrayed as a hideous monster with snake hair, a forked tongue, and bulging eyes. When anyone looked into her eyes, they turned into stone. (1)
Then why would more and more people opt for this tattoo design on their bodies?
Far from being a symbol of evil, the Medusa tattoo is a powerful symbol of a woman oppressed by the patriarchy.
Survivors of sexual assault and rape are proudly flaunting this amazing tattoo on their skin, inverting the narrative of women who are punished for being victims.
Donatella Versace, director of Versace, says,
“In mythology, the Medusa can petrify people with a look — which is a good thing, I think. But the Medusa is a unique symbol — something strong. It’s about going all the way.” (2)
Ancient Greek Mythology
The story behind how Medusa, a once beautiful girl, and a priestess at the goddess Athena’s temple, turned into one of the three monstrous Gorgons, is heart-wrenching. (3)
Poseidon, the god of the sea, pursued Medusa and raped her in the goddess Athena’s temple.
The goddess Athena took this action as a violation of her sacred temple and instead of punishing Poseidon, she turned Medusa into a vicious monster, a creature with snakes as her hair.
If that weren’t enough, she punished Medusa for her beauty. As some ancient myths tell, anyone who would ever look at Medusa would turn into stone, preventing anyone from even glancing at her.
Even at death, she wasn’t laid to rest. In ancient Greek mythology, it is known that Perseus, a Greek hero, finally beheaded her. But he weaponized the Medusa head, which hadn’t lost its ability to turn people into stone.
So he carried her head around, turning people to stone whenever he pleased.
When Perseus arrived in Seriphos, he used Medusa’s head to turn Polydectes and the vicious islanders into stones; the island is well-known long after for its many rocks. (4)
Ancient Greek mythology shows how wrongly Medusa was punished after being a victim of sexual assault. Instead of protecting her, the goddess Athena punished this beautiful maiden by turning her into a monstrous creature.
In society, many survivors of sexual assault and rape have felt the same way. So instead of letting these bad incidents bring them down, they own their survival story and flaunt it through body art.
These body arts have a story to tell and a strong, proud survivor behind them.
Make sure to also check our tattoo supplies list.
Medusa Tattoo Ideas
Now that we’ve talked about Greek myth and the protective symbol of Medusa, let’s talk about several tattoo designs you can incorporate into your art.
1. Simple Clean Lines
Most clients prefer simpletattoos with clean lines. These minimalist tattoos take up little space in your body and don’t take much time to draw.
The artist takes a stencil of the art you would want to draw on your body and uses light shading to give it definition and style.
The result is a cool yet powerful tattoo that screams your story to anyone who meets you.
Here is one such cool tattoo by tattoo artist yam.tattoo.
You don’t necessarily need a traditional tattoo done on your skin to flaunt female power and rise from oppression.
Tattoo artists can give you ideas on how you can embody a minimalistic approach without making it too obvious.
Some ideas include simple tattoos showing only a head full of snakes, a hand holding a snake, or bulging eyes with tears strewn down.
These subtle Medusa-inspired tattoos are definitely worth looking at.
3. Two-toned tattoo
Another incredibly cool idea for a tattoo is to use two colors instead of just one. It takes more precision than a one-toned tattoo and looks that much cooler and more powerful.
Two tones of color also mean your body art would be more visible. So, if that’s the stance you want to take, by all means, go for it.
I am in love with this two-toned Medusa tattoo by user nottsunade69. The black and red stand out in her arms and look fierce and powerful.
4. Color Tattoos
Bold colors are always an appealing option that looks fantastic on the skin. Body artists are more than happy to incorporate several colors into your skin to turn your art into an awesome piece.
Some opt for bright and bold colors such as purple, while others tone it down with pastels. But whatever your choice is, the result is going to be amazing.
Here are some incredibly cool artistic interpretations of Medusa, the snake-haired maiden, proudly depicted through colors.
Check out more drawing exercises for tattoo artists.
1. Why are Medusa tattoos suddenly so popular?
Medusa tattoos are a feminist symbol that survivors of rape and sexual assault are proudly displaying on their bodies.
2. What are some of the main symbols of Medusa?
In most art, her head is shown with a broad face and snakes for hair.
3. What does Medusa’s hair symbolize?
Her head of snakes is an ode to the cycle of life: birth, death, and rebirth.
4. Is Medusa a symbol of strength?
Yes. She is a symbol of feminine power and a symbol of protection for having turned patriarchy into stone and standing strong.
These medusa tattoo ideas are protective symbols that depict powerful women and men who have survived and now stand guard against such acts of violence.
Now you have many ideas to select your favorite type of tattoo to show how you are a powerful woman.
1. Finlayson C, Gutierrez Lopez JM, Reinoso del Rio MC, Saez Romero AM, Giles Guzman F, Finlayson G, et al. Where myth and archaeology meet: Discovering the Gorgon Medusa’s Lair. Medina Guerrero A, editor. PLOS ONE. 2021;16:e0249606.
2. Minaj N. Donatella Versace [Internet]. Interview Magazine. 2011 [cited 2022 Oct 26]. Available from: https://www.interviewmagazine.com/fashion/donatella-versace-nicki-minaj
3. Seelig B. The rape of Medusa in the temple of Athena: Aspects of triangulation in the girl [Internet]. Taylor & Francis Online. 2017. Available from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1516/3NLL-UG13-TP2J-927M?journalCode=ripa20
4. Ogden D. Perseus [Internet]. Google Books. Routledge; 2008 [cited 2022 Oct 26]. Available from: https://books.google.com.br/books?hl=en&lr=&id=uRDFljXN0LkC&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&ots=INyXLshr2V&sig=xXGTqzjjkqvXu8T_WhP8d7RnB5g&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false