Mermaid tattoos are popular amongst women and men alike. Sailors were the first to sport these tattoos, but they have since become massively popular with women because of what they can symbolize. They are most commonly a symbol of strong female energy, as they were portrayed as alluring figures that often lead sailors to their demise. They are also in close connection with sirens, who seduced sailors with their enchanting voices.
The colorful imagery that comes from the vast mythology of mermaids can lead to some very interesting tattoos. One of the most popular designs for this style is the pin-up mermaid. She is curvaceous and is usually seen with a look of sensual innocence. In this style, the mermaid can be placed in either the classic setting — lounging on a rock, combing her long, lustrous hair — or some other nautical scene. It is not uncommon to see this variety of mermaid clinging to an anchor or seductively wrapped in seaweed.
Using monotone colors in mermaid tattoos can also create an interesting look. Taking on an almost tribal style, these tattoos will often have only the sharp outlines of a mermaid, usually giving the appearance of being suspended in water, arms outstretched, and hair flowing above her head.
Given that the mythology of mermaids extends into Asian countries as well, it is not unusual to see mermaid tattoos styled as Geishas or even Indian goddesses. Much like the pin-up style, these tattoos depict an image of a sensual woman-like creature in a state of fluid movement.
The majority of mermaid tattoos, however, are depicted in a manner steeped in the fantasy they were created in. The colors can be either bright and soft, or dark and vivid. They are shown lounging in the ocean, communing with their fellow sea creatures or even playing an instrument, such as a harp.
Some people like to mix mermaids with other fantasy creatures such demons, dragons, elves and fairies. Some will also incorporate star symbols, flowers and children into their designs. One interesting idea is the Wiccan mermaid. Surrounded by earthy symbols, she represents not only the sensuality of the mermaid, but the strength of womanhood as a whole.
Whether seen as a voluptuous pin-up or a powerful goddess-like incarnation, most women decide to get mermaid tattoos as a symbol of empowerment, as an embracement of their capabilities, their beauty and their strength. Many men still find them appealing for their undeniable beauty, mystery and perhaps the very same enchantment they held over sailors so long ago.