In the early 1990s, a new tattoo style began to pop up on beaches and in night clubs all over the world. “tramp stamps”, as they’d come to be known, are tattoos that can be found on the lower back area of a woman. These controversial and risqué tattoos have since drawn strong criticism from some, while garnering praise from others.

Why did “tramp stamps” come about?
The lower back area is a popular area for tattoos because the wide area offers quite a canvas for tattoo artists. There, women can get a large tattoo that stretches horizontally and sends a message. “tramp stamps” in this area of the body are popular because they don’t tend to lose their shape when the body goes through certain weight changes.

Is it a fading trend?
The tramp stamp seems like it’s here to stay, at least for now. In the early 1990s, there was a great deal of negative sentiment associated with this type of tattoo. These days, with the help of movies like Wedding Crashers and comments from people like HBO’s Bill Maher, tribal tattoos on the lower back are seen as something that’s hip and sexy. Like most trends, this one will probably run its course eventually, though.

White trash?
Tattoos themselves have long been a sign of trashiness. White women have been especially fond of using an ill-placed tattoo to show their social standing. The tramp stamp, on the other hand, seems to be a tattoo that suggests a woman’s penchant for sex over any sort of designation of white trash status. On the right woman, the slut mark is a sexy look. Put it on the wrong lower back, though, and it still suggests white trash.

What kind of statement are you making?
The tramp stamp carries with it a large amount of sexual innuendo. As Jeremy Gray said in Wedding Crashers, “See that tattoo on the lower back? It might as well be a bull’s eye.” When you go to the beach showing off your lower back tribal mark, you are inviting guys to make suggestions and assumptions about your late night activities. As long as you’re ok with being thought a hoe, wearing a tramp stamp shouldn’t bother you.