Tattoos Were Once for Rebels. Is Popularity Killing the Art?

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty

In 1896, an Italian criminologist named Cesare Lombroso—whose infamous, disproved, scientifically racist theories include believing all offenders were part ape—wrote another spicy take on tattoos for the April issue of Popular Science Monthly.

After studying the prevalence of tattoos on Italian and German law-breakers, Lombroso came to the conclusion that “criminals, like savages, are very little sensitive to pain,” since their lot did not mind getting prodded by needles for the sake of making a statement.

At the same time as Lombroso was spouting his social Darwinist nonsense, aristocratic women all over London were taking to the boudoirs, rolling up their sleeves, and getting ink of their own.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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