Why are Medusa tattoos going viral on TikTok and what do they mean?

Medusa tattoosTIKTOK: IZZYWIBBLE/PAULATEPONTI

The Medusa tattoos were a hot topic on TikTok in 2021, and they seem to have made a comeback recently on the social media platform.

Medusa tattoos have resurfaced on TikTok, after going viral on the app late last year.

It all started when user r.bree.xo showed off her inking alongside the words: “A lot of people didn’t realize the meaning of a Medusa tattoo. If you do, I am so sorry you went through this too. You are so strong.”

Now, many users are seeing videos of people sharing their Medusa tattoos on their For You Pages, although they may be confused about what the inking signifies. If you are unsure about the deep, symbolic meaning behind this Greek mythological creature, here is an explainer.

What does the Medusa tattoo mean?

According to Greek mythology, Medusa was once a beautiful young woman who had men lusting after her. Her beauty caught the attention of sea god Poseidon, who is said to have sexually abused her in Athena’s sacred temple.

Athena in response turned Medusa into a snake-headed monster with the ability to turn anyone who looks at her to stone.

The most common reason people on TikTok are getting the mythic figure inked to their bodies is to invert the narrative that women should be punished in the wake of being sexually abused. In other words, Medusa has become a symbol of strength and survival for sexual assault victims.

One TikTok user explained in her video: “That’s why a lot of people have this tattoo, because if they were, they are victims, it is like empowering yourself, taking back your power type of thing.”

The hashtag for medusatattoo has over 105 million views, and is filled with videos of victims revealing their Medusa inkings. Another hashtag often used when sharing the symbolic tattoos is saawareness (sexual assault awareness.)

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