Feeling so much better about this flaming ying-yang chest piece right now …

From proposed legislation on banning affordable healthcare facilities like Planned Parenthood to ubiquitous fat shaming (both the overtly hatefully and culturally hegemonic), it seems like everyone has an opinion about what women should be doing with their bodies.

However, even in this environment of female body dysphoria, it seems some women have figured out the key to self-confidence: a modest shit-load of tattoos.

A recent study by Texas Tech University determined that college-aged women with several tattoos reported higher self-esteem levels than any other individuals in the study. Perhaps something as minor and cosmetic as a tattoo (a choice and a statement) speaks exponentially about the idea of expression and consequential self-esteem in the modern social landscape.

“I think women, especially, are more aware of their bodies through, among other things, fat shaming, the cosmetics and plastic surgery industry and hyper-sexualized imagery in media, what we may be seeing is women translating that awareness into empowerment,” explains Jerome Koch, who led the study. “We know women sometimes replace a surgically removed breast, for example, with elegant body art. We wonder if more tattoos might be a way of reclaiming a sense of self in the wake of an emotional loss [sic].”

Humans have been modifying their bodies for centuries. From teeth filing to extravagant body piercings, odds are — at some point or another — a human has probably done it. The earliest tattoo itself dates back 5,300 years. But why is the tattoo so intrinsically connected to the human species? How does a tattoo reinforce self-esteem?

In Psychology Today, Kirby Farrell, Ph.D, explains that although reasoning behind tattoos differ from individual to individual, all tattoos modify self-esteem in some way.

“As a symbol and a behavior, the tattoo has power. The quest to be better than ordinary is an appetite for more life, more good feeling about yourself and more response from others. [sic] They counter anxiety about aging and death,” explains Farrell. “Many symbols, including hearts and ancient Egyptian ankhs, are comforting.”

Increased self-esteem could also explain why more women than ever are tattooed today. Currently, 47 percent of women under the age of 35 are tattooed, while only 4 percent of women over 65 have them. This is pretty fair evidence that the acceptance of tattoos has skyrocketed during the past few decades, something that may also in turn increase a woman's confidence in showing her ink off.

If that regrettable lower back mural or highly questionably matching BFF ink has taught anyone anything, it’s that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, or at least teaches us to not give two shits about what anyone else thinks.