Cobweb tattoos are now generally just a fashionable tattoo usually tattooed around the elbow and little thought is given to their meaning and history.
Cobweb tattoos main meaning is to represent struggle. This is obviously due to the way spiders trap their prey in a web and how they struggle to escape it.
The stands of the web design also bare a resemblance to prison bars making them a popular tattoo among prison inmates. Both due to the jail cell bar symbolism and due to the metaphor of feeling trapped and the struggle to escape.
It has been said that the amount of rings on the web can represent the number of years and inmate spent on the inside. In some cases the rings may have indicated how many “victims” they had ensnared.
For the non-incarcerated tattoo aficionado however, these meanings can be representative of other struggles and the feeling of being trapped although not necessarily behind bars.
For example, feeling trapped by modern society and rules or the struggle against various difficulties you may have had in your life such as alcoholism for example.
Another thing to note is that another meaning connected to spider web tattoos is that a web on the left elbow indicates that the wearer is in possession of a hidden weapon.
Now it’s time to get into the inevitable connection that spider web tattoos have with racism. It is true that white Supremacy groups would get webs tattooed to show their beliefs.
This has long since been forgotten however and getting a cobweb tattoo now would not be seen as anything out of the ordinary. So don’t worry about being labeled as a racist by the vast majority of people. You may get the odd person telling you that it’s racist and trying to look knowledgeable but you can just tell them it’s far more likely to mean that you’ve been behind bars if anything!