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Baby piercing = bad.

2006-09-03 - 1:51 p.m.

I am about to do something that I rarely do here; I am going to risk offending some people. Because I shy away from controversy I am going to start with a caveat.

I know for some people this is a cultural decision, not a personal one. I know that everyone has the right to choose what they think is the correct course of action for themselves and their children. And just as those people have the right to think what they want, I too have the right to an opinion on the subject and having your opinion doesn’t make you a bad person, just as having mine doesn’t make me a bad person. I will, however look askance at you when you walk by and I see that you have done this. So what am I talking about and just get to the point already? Here goes…

Acquaintance: So, are you going to get [Grommet’s] ears pierced?

Shawna: You mean, am I going to mutilate my daughter without her consent by having glittery ornaments thwapped through her tender young flesh because I want her to look “cute”, as if she were, in fact, a doll I can dress up, instead of a little, vulnerable person with nerve endings, whom it is my job to protect from being impaled on sharp pieces of metal? Is that what you’re asking?

Acquaintance: … Um, so, that would be a “no” then?

Shawna: Correct, that would be a NO.

Now don’t get me wrong, if Grommet ever wants to have her ears pierced and asks me if she can, I’ll be fine with it. I’m not saying she has to wait until a certain age either: I don’t mind if she’s seven years old and wants to have them done. But it should be her decision, not mine, and she should be old enough to understand that it will hurt, and be willing to accept the pain and the responsibility of caring for the piercings until they’re healed.

My grandmother’s ears were pierced as a baby. It was her culture. There are baby boys that are circumcised because of their religion. I don’t feel it is my place to comment on or even disapprove of these things. But if you don’t have hundreds of years of cultural history as reason to pierce your baby daughter’s ears, if you just do it because you think it’s “cute”, I will indeed disapprove and, right or not, I will think of you as just a teeny bit trashy. That’s probably a failing of mine, but there it is.

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