Cheryl’s tattoo – when does tasteful become tacky?

The nation’s sweetheart and Girls Aloud star Cheryl Cole has shocked fans and critics with her latest body art. The huge rose design on her lower back was displayed for the first time on the first night of the Girls Aloud Reunion Tour, reigniting the debate of whether girls can pull off tattoos without being branded “chavs”.

Over 10 years and almost 20 tatts after the baby-faced singer appeared in Popstars: The Rivals, Cheryl’s recent rebellious streak has divided opinion amongst fans. Despite being considerably less inked than Robbie Williams, David Beckham and Dougie Poynter, she has faced the same “tacky” and “tasteless” jibes as fellow coloured-in pop princesses Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Rita Ora. But why do tattoos on women carry so much stigma in a society that prides itself on acceptance and tolerance?

Women have fought for the same education, the same jobs, the same opportunities, pay, social status and legal rights as our male counterparts, undeniably a huge leap from where we were 100 years ago. Yet one stereotype remains: tattoos are for men. Originally only seen on bikers and sailors, tattoos used to symbolise strength and masculinity, but this view can surely no longer be justified now that women are equal to men in almost every other respect.

There’s no denying that girls are gradually becoming more confident to break the mould of the traditional quiet woman who wears floor-length dresses and does as she’s told, whether it be shaving their hair, studying mechanics or going under the needle. And they need role models like Cheryl at the front line, fighting the way for a new generation of girls who aren’t afraid to express themselves. Society has changed, girls get tattoos, get over it.

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