If you came of age in the late-‘90s or early-2000’s, chances are you have – or know someone who has – a lower back tattoo. Better known as “the tramp stamp.” After falling out of style and relegated to “cringe” status, tramp stamps are making a comeback. Though, IMO, the only thing that was ever cringey about “tramp stamps” was the name, not the tattoos.
Well, cringe no more. Because lower back tattoos are back, baby. Fellow Xennials and young(ish) Gen Xers, this is our time.
Lower back tattoos – or better known by their pejorative name of “tramp stamps” – gained popularity in the late-‘90s and early-2000s. Celebs like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera made them popular, and young folks swarmed to tattoo parlors to get their own “stamp.”
Okay, first things first, can we stop coming up with some kind of condescending name for everything women do? Mom jeans. Girl Boss. Tramp stamp. Enough. Yeah, yeah, I get it. Lower back tattoos got their reputation because women were flaunting them with their ultra low-rise jeans as some kind of flirty badge of rebellion. But COME. ON. Enough. We got lower back tattoos because they’re cool, dammit.
We didn’t need the approval of our parents. Or our romantic interests. Or even our friends. We didn’t need the permission of anyone. And we make no apologies. Sure, I’ve heard my own peers lament their lower back tattoos and it always make me a little sad. I wanna scream, OWN THAT SHIT. Your body is beautiful and this is a mark of who you were at that time in your life. Own it. Love it. Celebrate it.
And now we can. Though we weren’t waiting for our lower back tattoos to be en vouge again, we’re gonna ride their trend wave while it lasts with a bit of “we did it first” confidence. Just like we’re gonna rock our flannels and Timberlands. Because we made this shit popular.
Gen Z loves to mock us for our side parts and our skinny jeans while gobbling up those things that we ushered in. But you know what? So be it. We’ll let them take the credit. We Gen Xers and Xennials are used to being overlooked. So be it. And chances are we have a few more tattoos to add to those lower back tattoos. We aren’t looking for cred. We know we have it.
According to media company i-D, tattoo artist Kyle England said gave his first lower back tattoo in years earlier this year. Brooklyn-based designer Cherry Kim said, “I remember being a pre-teen and seeing older girls wear low-rise track pants and jeans with an exposed thong and ‘tramp stamp,’ and thinking it looked so cool,” she says. “I’m just trying to fulfill my fantasy.”
In true Gen Z fashion, this new age of lower back tattoo aficionados don’t share my annoyance with their common moniker either. They embrace it and celebrate it. So fist bumps on that, my feisty friends.
Bottom line: We OG tramp stampers didn’t need this new wave of love and appreciation for the trend that we launched. We don’t need Gen Xers to recognize us as the pioneers of sexy, badass lower back tattoos that we are. We already know we’re sexy badasses. But we’ll ride this wave. We’ll ride it with a nod and a mmm-hmm. We know tramp stamps are cool AF. We knew it then, and we know it now.
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