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What Does a Medusa Tattoo Mean? The 2 Different Variations

Who hasn’t heard of Medusa? She is one of the most well-known Gorgon monster figures. The legendary figure is typically shown as a winged female creature with a head of hair made of snakes in several movies, paintings, and literary works.

Medusa is a well-known figure, and if you follow social media platforms, then you must have seen Medusa becoming popular as a tattoo designer.

You might be asking yourself why someone would desire a tattoo of someone who has been dubbed a snake-haired monster figure.

This article will answer the question “What does a Medusa tattoo mean“, while also introducing you to the famous mythical creature.

1. Greek Mythology and Medusa: Who Was Medusa

Greek mythology depicts Medusa as one of three Gorgon sisters, the other two being her immortal sisters Euryale and Stheno. Medusa was the only mortal Gorgon.

The three Gorgons were the offspring of Ceto, the goddess of sea monsters and sea dangers, and Phorcys, the sea deity of the hidden dangers of the deep.

She is well known for having snakes for hair and having the power to turn a person to stone with a single glance.

2. Death of Medusa

what does a Medusa tattoo mean, Perseus
Image by nightowl from Pixabay / Copyright 2016

Another famous aspect of Medusa’s story is her death. The story talks of Perseus, who killed her by chopping off her head with the assistance of the gods Hermes and Athena.

Perseus, the great hero, was sent on a journey that Polydectes, the king of Seriphos, thought would be his attempt to get rid of him. The mission was to bring the medusa’s head back to Polydectes.

Perseus eventually made it to the legendary home of the Gorgons with the aid of Athena and Hermes. When Medusa fell asleep, Perseus was able to sever her head with his sickle by using the image of Athena’s bronze shield as a mirrored shield guide to avoid looking directly at the Gorgons and becoming stone.

According to Greek mythology, Perseus brought the head of Medusa back to Seriphos. As retribution for the king’s effort to forcefully wed his mother, Perseus used Medusa’s head to transform Polydectes and the locals into stones.

3. How Medusa Got Her Snake Hair

To understand “what does a Medusa tattoo mean”, you need to know why and how Medusa got cursed. There are two distinct versions of the tale of snake-haired Medusa.

3.1. Athena’s Curse

what does a Medusa tattoo mean, Athena
Image by Bogdan Radu from Pixabay / Copyright 2017

As the only mortal of the Gorgon sisters, Medusa was once described in legend as being gorgeous, with her hair being her most exquisite charm. She was gorgeous from birth, and Athena’s curse caused her to turn into the infamous monster.

Many adored Medusa’s beauty. The powerful sea god Poseidon, or God Neptune, the counterpart of the Greek god Poseidon, is one of them. According to legend, he gave in to the urge and impregnated Medusa in Minerva’s temple.

The Roman goddess Minerva is clearly related to the Greek goddess Athena. The virgin goddess was so enraged by this that she transformed Medusa’s lovely hair into a tangle of snakes. She also transformed Medusa into a horrible hag, turning her skin green. The curse also caused anyone to turn to stone after locking eyes with Medusa.

3.2. The Hair of Protection

what does a Medusa tattoo mean, snake hair
Image by VintageStockCatalog from Pixabay / Copyright 2021

According to another version of the story, Medusa was a devoted priestess in Minerva’s temple whose beauty drew Poseidon, who assaulted her in Athena’s shrine.

All the Olympians chose to place the blame on Medusa when Poseidon sexually assaulted her.

Since Athena was aware of the real wrongdoer but was unable to punish him. She had to come up with a plan that would appear to be a punishment to the others but was actually a means of defense: remove Medusa’s attractive features and make her turn anybody who looks at her into stone.

As a result, in ancient Greece, women’s shelters were designated with Medusa’s heads.

This version of Medusa’s story provides an explanation for the question “what does a Medusa tattoo mean”.

4. What Does a Medusa Tattoo Mean

what does a medusa tattoo mean, woman empowerment
Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay / Copyright 2018

After learning how and why Medusa became a monster with snake hair, let’s talk about what does a Medusa tattoo mean and what Medusa in tattoos represents.

There are many different Medusa tattoo meanings, but it typically represents conquering hardship, courage, and survival. The word “Medusa” derives from a Greek term that means “to defend or protect.”

While the common interpretation of Medusa is as a monster who was cursed for desecrating Athena’s temple, many people believe that her head serves as a protective amulet that wards off evil. This is the main factor for individuals choosing the Medusa tattoo design.

Contrary to popular belief, Athena was actually guarding Medusa when she supposedly cursed her. The rape narrative is what has inspired the use of Medusa as a tattoo among many.

Today, victims of sexual assault choose the tattoos of Medusa to oppose the idea that victims of sexual assault should be shamed, held accountable, or punished.

The story of Medusa is used to signify tenacity and endurance. The answer to the question “What does a Medusa tattoo mean” can simply be answered with 2 words: power and strength. Her image is being used as an emblem of protection against evil, rather than being depicted as a villain.

5. Why Are Medusa Tattoos so Popular

Women who have endured sexual assault have developed a liking for Medusa tattoos. The #MeToo movement, which lessened some of the shame associated with sexual assault and abuse in general, has perhaps contributed to the increase in popularity of the Medusa tattoo and the understanding of what does a Medusa tattoo mean, during the past few years.

By reclaiming the Medusa image, they are dispelling the idea that being victimized entails being cursed or condemned.

Getting a Medusa tattoo is a popular way for many people, especially survivors of sexual assault, to feel strong and empowered. Many survivors have been encouraged to speak out and share their stories by getting a Medusa tattoo.

6. Famous Tiktok Medusa Tattoo Trend

Social media is quite powerful. In addition to being used for amusement, it can also be used to promote social messages. TikTok is one such platform. Tiktok is a video hosting service that has a reputation for sparking trends, but it can also be a potent tool for raising awareness.

Speaking out about their own rape experiences as sexual assault survivors became popular. Many users discussed their experiences. Sharing your Medusa tattoo with the world on this platform became a trend.

This is how Medusa’s tattoos rose to popularity. People began looking up Medusa tattoos and the deeper meaning behind them.

7. Is a Medusa Tattoo Appropriate?

Since she is seen as a vicious monster, people frequently wonder if getting a tattoo of Medusa is okay. One should not see a Medusa tattoo as immoral. It’s your body, thus you should have the freedom to get inked as you like.

In Greek myth, she is a female demon who also appears as a victim. The symbolism of a Medusa tattoo is ambiguous and can be interpreted in a variety of ways, such as by connecting her to a representation of feminine power or to individuals taking control of and protecting their own lives.

All you need to do is figure out “what does a Medusa tattoo mean” and determine whether or not you connected with the answer.

8. Medusa Tattoo Designs

Medusa design tattoos have grown in popularity, and tattoo artists have gotten pretty creative with their body art. With the Medusa tattoo trend being so popular among rape victims, there are various choices of Medusa tattoos available.

While some get a Medusa chest tattoo, some prefer to get a Medusa thigh tattoo. Medusa sleeve tattoos and Medusa hand tattoos are also some of the popular choices among people. Despite the abundance of creativity, some people prefer traditional tattoos. Each work of a tattoo artist is not only a piece of beautiful tattoo but also a story of courage and survival.

9. Some Ideas for Medusa Tattoos

You can find a variety of Medusa tattoo designs just like there are a variety of responses to the question “what does a Medusa tattoo mean.”

9.1. Varied Styles

Because tattoo artists are so creative, we have a wide variety of designs to pick from. The top choices are listed below.

9.1.1. A Classic Medusa Tattoo

A traditional tattoo is a common option. The vivid colors and broad lines of traditional tattoos are well known. This timeless tattoo is the kind that will draw attention to you and make a statement.

9.1.2. Tattoo of Medusa in Color or Black

You choose from a variety of options while selecting to get her image tattooed. You can make a dark Medusa design to draw attention to the story’s darker aspects. Vibrant colors and strong lines are good choices if you want to go in a different direction and get a tattoo that is aesthetically stimulating.

9.1.3. Simple Medusa Tattoo

A Medusa tattoo is offered in a variety of forms. Although the majority of the snake-haired maiden tattoo designs are really artistic, you can simply choose a simple tattoo. This design is perfect for individuals who want minimalistic artwork. After all, a simple tattoo can make a big impression.

9.1.4. Tattoo of Medusa Statue

what does a Medusa tattoo mean, Medusa head
Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay / Copyright 2021

If Greek mythology fascinates you, then you have undoubtedly heard about Medusa and Medusa’s story.

A Medusa statue tattoo can interest you if you want to keep true to your heritage and the prominent role that Medusa played in ancient Greek art.

9.1.5. Medusa and Perseus Tattoo

This tattoo is more likely to be associated with Perseus than Medusa. While some people think she was a monster, others consider her an innocent victim. Regardless of what you want to believe, Perseus beheads Medusa in the end, and she dies.

Perseus is viewed as a symbol of valor and courage, and his deeds can be seen as the victory of good over evil. Someone who values these traits can flaunt this tattoo.

9.2. Recommended Tattoo Positions

Your tattoo’s placement is equally as significant as its design. You need to think about how comfortable you are as well as the pain related to getting inked in specific places. That being said, let’s look at some of the most popular locations for Medusa tattoos.

1. Medusa Thigh Tattoo

The thigh is a great place to place your tattoo if you want to make it more attractive and noticeable. As there is muscle and fat present in the thigh area, the thigh is one of the least difficult body parts in terms of discomfort.

2. Medusa Sleeve Tattoo

A sleeve tattoo contains a lot of depth, in light of the fact that sleeve tattoos need a lot of labor, a lot of time, energy, resources, and creativity. You’ll probably spend a lot of money on a sleeve piece, and it will probably take several tattoo sessions to complete. Nevertheless, the end result is worthwhile.

3. Medusa Half Sleeve Tattoo

If you don’t think a full-sleeve tattoo is for you, consider a half-sleeve tattoo. Instead of ending at the wrist, the ink is intended to end at the elbow. The area is big enough for you to use your imagination and create a detailed tattoo. This tattoo is affordable and simple to hide. Because there is less room to work with, it will be completed faster.

4. Medusa Back Tattoo

Back tattoos are timeless. The back is one of the ideal sites for body art. Simply by virtue of its size, your artwork will stand out. There may be some pain, but it will hurt more the closer it is to the bone in comparison to the other part of the back.

10. Advice for Medusa Tattoo Clients

what does a medusa tattoo mean, tattoo artist
Photo by cottonbro studio on pexels / Copyright 2020

Medusa tattoos are stunning and can boost one’s self-confidence, but like every tattoo design, they have some drawbacks.

Before getting this beautiful tattoo, keep the following in mind and take them into consideration:

10.1. Exploration Is Important

Do your research to ensure that you truly want a tattoo. Understand what does a Medusa tattoo mean and if you want one. Getting a tattoo is not only painful, but it also lasts a lifetime.

You can have it removed, but why put yourself through that pain? Although a Medusa tattoo does symbolize survival, getting one is not required to feel secure. Do not get one merely because you see others getting one. Only ink yourself if and when you feel like it.

10.2. Trust Yourself and Your Decision

The answer to the question of what does a Medusa tattoo mean is different for each one. While for some it is wrong, many consider it to be a sign of power. Do not allow anyone to persuade you that what you are doing is wrong.

If you absolutely want a tattoo, go for it. Just remember that you have the freedom to treat your body any way you like.

10.3. Research the Tattoo Artist

When getting a tattoo, it’s crucial that you feel secure. There are numerous tattoo artists, particularly women, who understand what does a Medusa tattoo mean and specialize in making them, so do your research before choosing one.

10.4. Pick the Body Part Thoughtfully

Think about where you are getting tattooed. Your tattoo’s position plays a significant part.

Consider the placement if you fear that inquiries and remarks regarding your tattoo will make you feel awkward and would not clearly explain to others what does a Medusa tattoo mean to you.

10.5. Take Care of Your Tattoo

It is important to keep in mind that colored tattoos typically fade more quickly and that lighter hues don’t endure as long as darker ones. Maintain your artwork carefully and avoid getting your tattoo too exposed to sunlight if you want it to last as long as possible.


Survivors of rape and abuse have tattooed Medusa, who has been symbolized as a survivor of sexual assault. Medusa is a representation of female power and security for many women and abuse survivors. This tattoo is inspiring and symbolizes the survivor regaining control. The tattoo emphasizes the need to avoid victimizing or blaming women.

Understanding what does a Medusa tattoo mean alters our perception of the well-known mythical figure and draws attention to the critical problem of victim blaming.

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