For Some, This Election Is Going Skin-Deep — Literally

Photo: Getty Images.
Last week's election hit America like an earthquake: No matter where you stood — politically or socially — the ground beneath your feet shook. The impact of this particular election reached another, more permanent level when many people decided to announce who they sided with — on their skin, in the form of safety-pin tattoos.

The ink is based on the growing safety-pin movement, which has many Americans wearing safety pins to show solidarity with, as one Twitter user puts it, "those who Trump hates." The household object represents, as the name suggests, safety and security. The tattoo has become so popular that some parlors are offering discounts on the design.

Sarah Knapp, a tattoo artist in Eugene, OR, will put the pin on your skin for just $40, about half the shop minimum. She told Refinery29 that the discount is an effort to make the tattoo more accessible. (The average tattoo, no matter how small, can cost over $100.)

"The discount was to inspire people that wouldn't normally get the tattoo, based on the price, to feel like they could afford it, if they wanted it. Just because I thought it was such a good idea worth spreading," Knapp says. Since the election, she's drawn the design more than 10 times, and she has 10 more safety-pin tattoos scheduled. She says she's noticed the safety-pin trend on social media and claims that it's the largest tattoo trend she's seen since becoming an artist.

As with any movement taking over the internet, there's also been some backlash. According to The Wrap, critics argue that the body art is a form of internet slacktivism, and a "lazy" way to show support. But others are seeing it as an important conversation starter.

Ahead, we've collected some of the tattooed statements of solidarity in question. So, take a peek at the slides ahead, and then decide for yourself where you stand.
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Photo: via @mandy_pants_tattoos.
Mandy Pants, a tattoo artist in Denver — who designed the ink for two sisters — called these "a simple image with a powerful message."
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Photo: via @kara_k_pgh.
One Instagram user wrote, "This just happened #electiongrieving."
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Photo: via @blackfishtattoo.
This tattoo took a more realistic approach.
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Photo: via @magentatardis.
The ink is a way to declare a lifetime devotion to safety, says this Instagrammer. With the post, she wrote, "I'm permanently a safe space now."
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Photo: via @jessicaleighozimek.
Scott Hill Tattoo, a parlor in Closter, NJ, is one of the stores to offer safety-pin tattoos for a discounted $60. Proceeds will go to the Rockland County Pride Center.
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Photo: via @troybrett2113.
The emboldened line work in this particular design gives this pin a modern aesthetic.
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Photo: via @troybrett2113.
Troy Brett, an artist at Rick's Tattoos in Arlington, VA, has done several election-related tattoos, including one that reads, "I, too, am America." This is one of three safety-pin designs he has done so far.
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Photo: via @e_loves_ink_tattoos.
Eryn Derderian, an artist in Denver, offers the design for $50. "If you want one and don't have $50, message me and I'll do it for whatever you can afford because I want you to have one if you want one," she wrote in an Instagram post.
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Photo: via @sknapp_tattoos.
Knapp says the tattoo comes with a caveat: "It should be said that this is only a small statement. It shouldn't be used for self-consciousness, but rather the call to action and education," she wrote in the post, which she says was in response to the criticism of the movement. She has no qualms about giving the safety-pin tattoo, so long as the owner wears it as a message, rather than as a mode of personal expression.

"While no act is too small, I personally believe it should not necessarily point attention to oneself, but put out a message to the other people that need it. That basically, 'You are safe with me,'" she says.
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