portraits of a number of tattoo artists side by side, some in full colour and others in black and white

Ink Master: Battle of the Sexes

A new season of Ink Master is upon us, pitting a whole new group of tattoo artists against one another in a battle for the title of Ink Master and a $100,000 prize. However, does this new season highlight an important topic in the tattoo industry? Let’s discuss how Ink Master: Battle of the Sexes is helping to shed a light on gender equality.

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Confession, curling up to enjoy an episode of Ink Master has always been a guilty pleasure of mine! The opportunity to see new artists and their work, following many afterward on social media, combined with the competition aspect of the show makes for the perfect way to enjoy some time off. While I have seen every season to date, season 12 includes a new spin – they have formed two teams of artists based on gender. That’s right, it’s the guys versus the girls, and it’s brought up some important conversations!

Early on the concept of gender equality and the treatment of females in the tattoo industry is addressed, as a number of the female contestants commented on the way they have had to fight for recognition in the industry.  With this season including the most female competitors in the history of the show, it was a great opportunity to show the viewers that there is some incredible talent out there, regardless of gender.

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The tattoo industry as a whole has always been heavily male-dominated, creating an environment where aspiring female artists feel as though they are fighting their way into a ‘boys club’. While this is far from fair, it’s a reality in today’s society and one that deserves to be recognized and discussed! By highlighting such a large number of female artists, the show is giving women a platform to show that they are just as good as their male counterparts. In fact, the teams have been incredibly evenly matched.

You can view the trailer for ‘Ink Master: Battle of the Sexes’ here:

Further adding to the ‘Ink Master: Battle of the Sexes’ theme, each week 2 former Ink Master contestants return to coach the teams – one male and one female. These coaches are introduced to the current contestants as highly-respected success stories within the tattoo industry, portraying men and women as equals – an important image in the battle for equality! With great talents such as Ryan Ashley, Sarah Miller, Katie McGowan, Kelly Doty and Duffy Fortner, it’s hard to deny the fact that the women in the tattoo industry are a force to be reckoned with!

Oliver Peck, Dave Navarro and Chris Nunez standing side by side with the title ‘Ink Master: Battle of the Sexes’ in front of them

Who will win? With over half of the contestants still battling for that top spot, we’re going to be waiting to find out. My prediction? I am LOVING on the incredible work by New York artist Laura Marie and believe that she’s a force to be reckoned with!

However, with this season’s theme triggering conversations both on and off the show, it’s so much bigger than a single title! Could this be an important turning point in the industry? Many will argue that it’s about time! Once associated with criminals, prison inmates and gang members, tattoos have been widely accepted in today’s society. A 2012 Ipsos poll found that 22% of Canadians and 21% of Americans have at least one tattoo, and that number was continuing to climb. As the tattoo industry became more mainstream, it opened the doors for a larger number of talented artists to make their mark, sharing their art with the world.

Whatever the outcome, I encourage everyone to openly engage in these conversations. There will be no change in our society unless we make it so…. Discuss the role of female artists in the tattoo industry, share your favourite female artists with others and welcome open and respectful conversations, even with those who may not share your opinion. Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know. There are many people out there who may be honestly unaware of the dynamics these artists are having to fight against on a daily basis.

If we continue to stand alongside these incredible artists, fighting to change societal stereotypes, we will someday see a world where men and women experience true equality, regarded solely based on their talent and work free from gender bias!

Have you been watching Ink Master: Battle of the Sexes? If so, who do you predict is going to walk away with the title?

**Feature Image: Paramount Network**

14 thoughts on “Ink Master: Battle of the Sexes”

  1. I had never heard of Ink Master battle of the sexes. I am not very familiar with the tattoo industry so it is all new to me, but it’s always good to discover things way out of your comfort zone

    1. Isn’t it incredible? I love that the men and women are treated as equals, providing a clear example of how the tattoo industry as a whole should be

    1. It’s been around for quite a while here in Canada/US – this is season 12. You can probably find somewhere to stream it online!

  2. I love this show! I was surprised that Fon was sent home in episode 8. You might be right that Laura Marie just might win it all- she does do incredible work!

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