Wednesday, March 18, 2009

POST 2: Hayley- Tattoos of the Skinhead Subculture

A Skinhead is a member of a sub-culture that originated among working class youth in the United Kingdom in the 1960's. They were named for their close-cropped or shaven heads.Originally, the Skinhead sub-culture was primarily based on ideas of fashion, music and lifestyle, not on politics or race. Since then, however, attitudes towards race and politics have become factors in which some Skinheads align themselves.
Within this sub-culture are different categories of which an individual may display a combination of aspects:
  • Trojan Skinheads are the more traditional members. They identify with the original 1960's culture in terms of music, fashion style, culture and working class pride. Their style is meant to symbolize their tough, patriotic, working class attitudes in contrast to the, supposedly, pacifist, middle class views of the hippies.
  • Oi! Skinheads appeared after the development of punk rock in the 1970's. They had shorter hair and more tattoos than the Trojans. The Oi! Skinhead dresses in similar fashion to the Hardcore Skinhead, minus the Neo-Nazi and or racist symbols.
  • Hardcore Skinheads originated in the US hardcore punk scene in the 1980's. This group is also known as the White Power Skinheads and Neo-Nazi Skinheads. This group are racist and often anti-semtic and anti-gay. Their tattoos reflect these attitudes and the wearers are easily recognizable by the style and design of their tattoos.
The White Power Skinheads adorn themselves with hate symbols to show their alliance with that sub-culture. They wear these symbols on their clothing, on badges and as tattoos.

Celtic Cross

Stormfront Logo- This logo was developed by Don Black for his White Power supremacist web site and adopted as a tattoo design by the Skinheads.

The Warrior Rune- Shows a commitment to armed struggle. It is a takeoff of Jesus on the cross. This is one of the older, more traditional symbols. Both Neo-Nazi and non-racist Skinheads use this symbol to represent the plight of the working class. This tattoo can also symbolize that the individual has either served time in prison or has committed murder.

Pinwheel Swastika- a variation of the traditional swastika.

Lightning bolts- originally worn by Hitler's SS.

Death's Head- originally used by Nazi SS soldiers during WWII but now frequently worn by racist Skinheads.

Boot Symbols- worn by both racist and non-racist Skinheads. Until recently, Skinheads could be recognized by their colored shoelaces and Doc Marten boots, often made with steel tips and used as weapons. Although many wear other kinds of shoes, this brand of boots, popularized several years ago, is still the most typical and traditional. The term "Boot Party" was coined to refer to a gathering at which Skinheads usually committed acts of violence together.

This symbol is prevalent among nearly every group in the racist movement, including Skinheads.

Here are a few examples of known Neo-Nazi skinheads and their tattoos:
Although Jesse Chaddock had covered some of his racist skinhead tattoos, several remained. Clockwise, from top left: an SS symbol; four kings (from a Social Distortion song) and "Skrewdriver," the name of a skinhead band; crossed hammers, the symbol of the Confederate Hammerskins, on the inside of his arm and on his belly.

It is common for Skinheads to tattoo their face to show their commitment to the movement and so they are recognized members of the sub-culture.

Symbols of Hate
Hate Symbols: Boot Symbols - From A Visual Database of Extremist Symbols, Logos and Tattoos
Google Image Result for
A discussion on Skinheads: Let's have it out - Page 7 - Stormfront
On this site i will collect all Skinhead tattoos that i will find.


  1. Whenever I think of Skinheads, I think of the movie "Romper Stomper" starring Russell Crow - a very violent and racist portrayal of the Skinhead sub-culture in Australia, but there's plenty of tats.

  2. a very comprehensive piece of research well referenced. excellent work

  3. the tat of the greek helmet is never worn by white supremacists its the s.h.a.r.p. simble (skinheads against racial prejudice)