There’s a good chance you’ve heard of Medusa—the snake-haired monster from Greek mythology with eyes so powerful they can turn people to stone. Her image has become popular in recent years due to a tattoo trend that’s been bubbling up on TikTok, and the meaning behind the design is more complex than just being “female power.”
In the modern sense, a medusa tattoo can mean different things to each person who gets it, depending on their own interpretation and context. For many, she’s a representation of feminine strength and resilience, defying societal expectations and asserting women’s indomitable spirit. She can also symbolize a woman’s embrace of her dark side and the dichotomy between beauty and vanity. And her reptilian skin and snake hair can be a reminder of the natural cycle of death and rebirth.
In particular, a medusa tattoo is a popular choice for survivors of sexual assault. For these individuals, the figure can serve as protection and a reminder that they have the power to overcome their trauma. This is especially true for those who choose to get a tattoo of Medusa crying—another common interpretation that subverts the traditional narrative in which Medusa is raped and punished by Poseidon, then ultimately saved by Athena. If you’re thinking about getting a medusa tattoo, do your research and find an artist who specializes in the design. They’ll be able to help you with the placement, size, and meaning of the piece so it truly represents your own personal meaning. medusa tattoo meaning