10 True Meanings of Medusa Tattoos (Story Behind The Snake-Haired Monster)

Medusa is a famous character in Greek mythology that you have probably heard of or heard about. It was a female monster with a snake head and eyes that turned people to stone when looking at it. This makes this character scary in Greek mythology and is also the inspiration for beautiful tattoos.

Medusa’s tattoo designs often include her snakehead and scary gaze. So what is the meaning of Medusa tattoo? Medusa itself is a symbol for many different purposes, be it protection from evil or symbolism of the victim, and much more.

The following article will help you explain the meaning of these beautiful tattoos.

6 Most Popular Meanings Of Medusa Tattoos

Medusa tattoo holds a lot of meanings


Medusa is a symbol of the feminist movement. It has encouraged and raised awareness of unfortunate women who have become victims of sexual assault, and many of them are unable to get justice on their own.

The Me Too Movement

“Me Too” is a movement created to change the outdated thinking that blames the victim. This way of thinking criticizes the victims and defends the abuser’s actions. People with this mindset believe that victims intentionally create opportunities by wearing revealing clothes to seduce the abuser.

The Me Too movement is against everything that Medusa has been through. She was sexually assaulted, slandered, punished, and ultimately terminated. Unfortunately, those who committed those crimes are not responsible, and she must suffer unwarranted and unfair punishments.

***The Story Of Medusa: We look at one of the most misunderstood characters in Greek mythology, Medusa***

Against Patriarchy

Medusa is also a symbol of female anger at being objectified, ignored, and exploited. Most major feminists see the Medusa symbol as a symbol of their hurt and anger at patriarchal oppression.

However, some people use the Medusa symbol as an insult. These people assumed that she was a monster that needed to be destroyed by a man.

You may even have seen memes that take Perseus holding Medusa’s head and replace them with an image of a male politician (Donald Trump) holding the head of a female opponent (Hillary Clinton).

In contrast, feminists see this act as another attempt by the patriarchy to degrade women in power and further propagate the idea that women still have a lower position in society.

Feminists argue that this represents the fear among members of the patriarchy that they are seeing women overtake their positions and wield incredible power. Still, they won’t let these negative uses of the Medusa symbol spoil the good meanings that she represents.


Medusa was also a woman of such power and enchanting beauty that even the supreme gods fell in love with her. She did not choose to live with any man. Instead, she decided to dedicate herself to Athen, a powerful goddess.

After being transformed into a monster, she can also use her gaze to turn anyone to stone when she looks at it. The snakes on her head are also her weapons; they twist and have deadly venom.


Even after being murdered, Medusa’s head retains the power to turn people to stone. Athena’s Aegis later stored it, a cloak made of scales.

This image has been the inspiration for several early reconstructions of Medusa, surrounded by beautifully crafted patterns that create the optical illusion of being constantly in motion.

These patterns represent both the scale of Athena’s Aegis and the steely gaze of Medusa. Athena’s shield and Medusa’s gaze combined are considered to be capable of protecting uninvited guests.

Besides, the name Medusa comes from the Greek word “median,” which means “protect, rule over.”


Medusa’s severed head tattoo

Some tattoos refer to Medusa’s severed head, and sometimes, Perseus held it. Basically, it is a symbol of perseverance. She has become a hideous monster even though she has suffered many tragedies before.

As we know, Perseus was tasked with beheading Medusa by Polydectes. This seems like a difficult task as Medusa possesses incredible strength. Specifically, she can turn people to stone with just one look.

However, Perseus did not back down from this terrible power. On the contrary, Perseus’ willingness to take risks to face a seemingly impossible task has made him a symbol of determination and courage.

***Perseus defeats Medusa and takes her head.***

Other Meaning Of Medusa Tattoo 

The following are less common meanings associated with these tattoos, and they are worth mentioning in this article.


In some Medusa tattoos, you can see her with wings, which symbolizes freedom. Although she may have wings, she was exiled to an island named Sarpedon, where she lived for the rest of her life. 

We will not exactly call this the epitome of freedom. However, you are welcome to interpret the Medusa tattoos however you see fit.


Medusa must undergo a devastating transformation

Transformation is considered a less common meaning when referring to Medusa as she has undoubtedly transformed. 

On the plus side, the transformation has made Medusa stronger than a weak woman. Thanks to that, she could protect herself from many warriors with the ability to turn people into stone with a single glance.

We often take transformation as a good sign to adapt. But the transformation of Medusa in this story is an exception. The fact is that she didn’t want it, and it basically changed her for the worse.

She became a hideous monster and never received justice. All she can do to avenge herself is take down the warriors tasked with killing her.


Athena is known as an incredibly jealous goddess. Yet, this goddess did not initially grudge against Medusa because of her devotion and loyalty.

Unfortunately, Athena’s jealousy may have been one of the factors that had a direct effect on the curse Medusa suffered.

Depending on the mythology, she either becomes uglier, or others never witness her beauty because of her ability to turn people into stone.

If you are constantly jealous of others, perhaps these tattoos can remind you not to let your jealousy take over who you are, as being jealous of others doesn’t make you any better.



The Medusa symbol is also often associated with magic because Athena’s magical power turned her into a snake-headed monster. On the other hand, magic also includes Medusa’s ability to turn people to stone with a glance.

Best Medusa Tattoo Placements

If you are looking for a medium to large size tattoo, the Medusa thigh tattoo is an excellent way to go.

In addition, if you prefer Medusa’s wild snake-locked hair, it can be enough for a whole Medusa sleeve tattoo or at least a half sleeve. Of course, you will also love the biggest pieces and most impressive ones like Medusa full-back tattoos.


If you want your tattoo to be circular, consider a Medusa chest tattoo, or have her hair cover your entire chest with the face well stacked in the middle.

Is the Medusa Tattoo Offensive?

The good news is that Medusa tattoos are not considered offensive. On the contrary, they have even been seen as symbols of power for survivors of sexual assault.

The reason is that Medusa is seen as a victim rather than a villain. So, the tattoos associated with her always hold deep meanings.

According to legend, Medusa was turned into a monster because of her own rape. That’s why she carries the symbolism against the culture of blaming the victim. She is also considered a mythological figure capable of warding off evil forces.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why Was Medusa Turned Into a Monster

According to mythology, Medusa was a beautiful maiden. However, despite being pursued and proposed by many, Medusa dedicated herself to Athena, a goddess famous for jealousy.

Poseidon coveted Medusa’s beauty. Not only that, he often comes into conflict with Athena. So, he sexually assaulted Medusa while she was in the temple to satisfy his lust and humiliate Athena,

Athena blamed Medusa and punished her by turning her from a beautiful maiden into a snake-haired monster.

2. How was Medusa killed?

He used the shield Athena gave him as a mirror so he could see Medusa without looking directly at her. He snuck into her residence and beheaded her while she was sleeping.

The Bottom Line

We all know that Medusa is more than just a monster through the meaning of medusa tattoo.

We all know precisely that Medusa is a snake-haired monster able to turn people into stone. However, if you knew her whole story, you would feel more love for this woman than hate. Her story reflects a tragedy of sexual assault and injustice. As a result, the Medusa symbols have been widely used by feminists for decades.

Medusa’s transformation was the result of a terrible punishment. But, on the plus side, it gives this poor girl a terrifying amount of power, making her a formidable target for Perseus.

Medusa is definitely one of those fascinating mythological figures worth mentioning through art, including tattoos.

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