General Question

BBSDTfamily's avatar

What do you think of mothers piercing their infant daughter's ears?

Asked by BBSDTfamily (6834points) July 9th, 2009

Lots of people do it, lots of people have problems with it. I just want to hear different opinions on it b/c I will need to make that decision in the near future.

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56 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I’d wait for my daughter to reach an age when she could decide for herself.

DominicX's avatar

I simply don’t believe in changing a part of a person’s body without their consent (obviously in a non-medical emergency context). That’s why I don’t believe in piercing an infant girl’s ears or circumcision. My parents feel the same way.

Likeradar's avatar

Personally, I’m against it (although it’s not such a terrible thing). I think ear piercing is a decision a person should make for them self. Babies shouldn’t be adorned in anything other than cute clothes. And it hurts! Not just the piercing, but the healing time and the annoyance of getting poked in the head with an earring back when you sleep. Why put a baby through unnecessary pain?

Facade's avatar

I think it’s fine. My mom did it to me while my dad was at sea haha and I’m glad she did. I wouldn’t want to be able to remember how it felt.

Tink's avatar

My mom did that to me when I was a few months old, I think it’s better when they are babies because they don’t know but I feel really sorry for them when the cry

BBSDTfamily's avatar

For those against it b/c they want their daughter to make that decision for herself, I definitely see the point but isn’t ear piercing not a big enough deal because it can easily grow back up if she decides she absolutely didn’t want it one day?

Likeradar's avatar

@Tink1113 If they’re crying, doesn’t that mean they know something painful is happening to them?

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Likeradar Forgot about the sleeping w/ the earring back thing… good point.

Likeradar's avatar

@BBSDTfamily Not always. I have an earring hole I haven’t put an earring into in at least 5 years. It’s still visible, and when I touch it, it feels just as open as my other ones.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Likeradar Did you have it pierced for a long time? I got a second earring hole when I was 15 and it grew up in about a year after having it for 4 or 5 years.

Facade's avatar

@BBSDTfamily I don’t think it will close up after years of being open, but nevertheless it still isn’t a big deal at all.

Tink's avatar

@Likeradar yes but it seems less painful

Likeradar's avatar

@Likeradar A few years, on an off.
I just put an earring in it a second ago, and it’s still wide open.

YARNLADY's avatar

As long as it is done in a safe and professional manner, it isn’t painful. I had mine done when I was around 20 or so. I see nothing wrong with it.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Is there anyone who thinks it’s a really bad decision? For the most part it seems that the people who don’t agree with it still don’t think it’s a huge invasion.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

yeah I don’t know, I don’t have kids but honestly it seems like all that comes into my mind is “they’re just earrings, people…”
maybe I’m just sleepy.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I don’t think it’s a huge deal.
It’s not like you’re getting her a tattoo.

skfinkel's avatar

Why would you do it? What are the reasons in favor? I find it uncomfortable to sleep in earrings, but a baby can’t tell you that.

I have never liked the look of babies with pierced ears—just a cultural thing, I think.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@skfinkel Just because some people like the look (me included). I see why some people wouldn’t though. Also b/c it makes it easy for people to distinguish that your baby is a girl…. sometimes you just can’t tell.

rooeytoo's avatar

A friend had it done to her daughter when the girl was about 4, she bawled like a banshee and I know it hurt when mine were done so that is one reason. But the care afterward was the problem, hers became infected and she was on antibiotics and was sick for a week. I don’t think my friend is the type who would have neglected to take care of the piercing so there is sometimes danger involved.

I say no, let the kid decide when she is old enough to say yes.

YARNLADY's avatar

@skfinkel I don’t see where it says this baby will be sleeping in earrings. When your ears are pierced, you can put rings in and take them out.
@rooeytoo If there was pain involved, it was done incorrectly.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@YARNLADY Should’ve made that two posts so I could GA you twice :)

AstroChuck's avatar

It’s purely a selfish act as the infant isn’t benefitting from it. It’s just a way for mom to make a fashion statement by mutilating her child’s ears. When the kid is old enough to understand just what is involved with an ear piercing (the pain, the risk of infection, cleaning, etc.) then considering it is acceptable in my own opinion.

rooeytoo's avatar

I have 3 holes in one ear and 2 in the other, they were done by 3 different people in 3 different places and they all hurt. Maybe I am just a sissy.

skfinkel's avatar

@BBSDTfamily : Telling the world the baby is a girl is pretty simple without the earrings. Pink is all the rage nowadays.

As I said, I think this is a cultural thing—some people like the looks of a baby with pierced ears, and others don’t. If you want to do it, you will, and your baby will just have to deal with it.

Bobbydavid's avatar

I don’t like it in the slightest. I see little boys too with pierced ears and it looks so terrible. If either of my children (both toddlers) were to arrive for our weekends with pierced ears my solicitor would be writing letters for weeks. Unless medically needed, children should be left as nature intended

tinyfaery's avatar

Body modification seems to be spread across cultures, even ours. It’s not like a tattoo or a branding.

And it’s not just girls. I’ve seen young boys with earrings, as well.

mcbealer's avatar

My ears were pierced as an infant because it’s part of many latin cultures for young children to wear jewelry. I never thought much about it until I was 9–10 years old and all of my friends were making special trips with their Moms to get their ears pierced.

It’s not something I would ever consider as a parent, not only because of the pain element, but also because I think people should have a say in any cosmetic changes to their own bodies.

augustlan's avatar

It was considered a right of passage to be ‘old enough’ to get my ears pierced. It was a very big deal to me when I got them done at age 7. I wanted my girls to have a similar experience, so I waited.

cookieman's avatar

In my wife’s family, in their tiny little town in Italy (cue mandolin), it is simply part of the culture. Babies get their ears pierced, usually by their godmother, with an ice cube and a sewing needle.

So when my daughter was fourteen months old, her mother, godmother, and nonna all went to get her ears pierced. Thankfully, there was no ice and needle involved.

But if you were to suggest to the folks back in the old country that they were “mutilating” their child’s body or subjecting them to “body modification”, they’d laugh (and pour you a glass of wine).

janbb's avatar

@ Yarnlady You do have to leave the earrings in all the time for a period of time initially so the holes don’t close up. I would think that would be even more likely to happen in babies’ ears. I had my done when I was 14 – it was a rite of passage to be old enough to choose – hurt like hell and it was done “right” by a doctor.

I wouldn’t choose to pierce a baby’s ears but I realize that there are cultures in which it is common and I accept that.

Jack79's avatar

I disagree, not so much because of any possible pain (after all we give our babies all sorts of jabs at that age) but because of the whole logic of treating the newly-born human being as a living doll. Still, it’s not the worse thing you can do to a child, and assuming that she loves it, I’d let it go. Personally I’d wait until my daughter was old enough to ask for something like that herself, and even then, I’d recommend clip-on earrings rather than piercings.

Nefily's avatar

My ears were pierced when I was a baby and my dad and my mothers friends were very confused and felt this was wrong. My mom told me recently that she pierced my ears when I was so young because in Haiti (where she was born) it is traditional and she didn’t know any different. I prefer that way anyway. I would have been too frightened to get them pierced when I was older.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

they place gender norms on them and its customary in many cultures for women to have pierced ears and the sooner the better – I dont agree with it just like I dont agree with circumcision, female or male, or ‘fixing’ intersex infants

ubersiren's avatar

It’s really not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but I do think that it’s a decision that should be made by the child when he/she is older and has a sense of what he/she wants for himself.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I think its stupid and pointless to mutilate the natural human body to add adornment, unless the adornee is conscious and aware of the decision and has made it of their own free will. But life is about choices, your results may vary.

And don’t even get me started on circumcision.

casheroo's avatar

I think people put way too much thought into it. Infection is rare, it’s not a complete invasion or mutilation. It’s a damn ear piercing and it doesn’t make a statement.

I got my ears pierced at 3 or 4, at the mall. I remember it and it was awful. I wish my parents had done it when I was younger and had taken me to a professional piercer.

If we have a daughter, I want to get her ears done when she is young enough not to remember it. My husband sort of argued with me, but he was the one that wanted our son circumsized, and I had no feelings either way…and I considered circumcision a much more invasive procedure. So, hubby gets no say. Definitely go to a piercing parlor, so a piercing gun is not used.

dalepetrie's avatar

@BBSDTfamily – you asked if anyone thought it was a really bad decision, and you can read this same opinion in the link I posted, but just to put it down here, I do, for a couple reasons.

I understand that sometimes there’s a cultural thing…it’s what you do. That however is not American culture. If you have to question whether or not to do it, then it’s probably not a cultural thing for you…it’s probably an ornamental thing for you.

Now first off, I don’t like the idea of doing something to anyone for purely ornamental reasons without their consent, and a baby can not consent. I get the idea that they won’t remember the pain (though if it might hurt or even scare the baby, then you’re still subjecting her to trauma you really don’t need to subject her to…whether it meets the definition of “pain” or not). To @YARNLADY, I would say that I’d be surprised if there was no pain whatsoever, I mean you are putting a hole through a fatty part of your flesh…there HAS to be some pain involved, I’d submit you have a high pain threshhold/tolerance…and that may not be so for a baby. And even if there is a way to do it where 100% of the time it wouldn’t hurt anyone, how are you to know you get the person who is capable of doing it that way? But for me, it’s less about the momentary pain and more about the personal decision. I think a child should be able to express a desire for this before they do it, it’s the child’s choice, not mine. What if the child grows up and adopts a belief system where they believe self mutilation is a one way ticket to hell? There’s probably a loophole (with superstition religion there always is), but she may still resent you for doing that.

I mean, if a five year old girl asks and REALLY wants to do it and REALLY understands, via talking to her mother and other adults who have done it, how much (if any) pain/discomfort she can expect, etc., then yeah, fine, even though the girl may not have arrived at her spiritual understanding of the world, at least it’s her decision and she has no one to blame for herself for whatever consequences she might encounter. At five at least you can use negative consequences for a learning tool, to help her understand that every decision she makes comes with potential consequences, not just the rewards she sees on the surface. So personal choice is item #1 for me why unless I had a cultural more to uphold, I would not do it.

But more importantly, as @Jack79 alluded to, earrings in our culture are basically ornamentation to make a woman seem more feminine and sexually alluring to men. Just like makeup, high cut skirts and low cut tops. I don’t want to seem a prude, I like to look at a tight young thang as much as the next guy, but I’m not into the JonBenet look. I think the whole Bratz culture (or as I like to call them, Horz) is really, really a sickening thing. I don’t think girls who don’t even know what sex is should be made up to look like sexual objects. And I think earrings are in a way a premature sexualization when placed on a young girl…the idea of putting them on a baby makes me want to vomit. Even in the case of a five year old, to be honest I might have a slight problem and want to have some veto power over what types of earrings she could wear…simple studs are good enough. It’s certainly a matter of degree, but I just don’t think we should make little girls look like little women, they’re only kids for a few years, I see no need to start sexualizing babies.

casheroo's avatar

@dalepetrie I think what your post consist of is what is majorly wrong with society. It’s part of what has changed….people are sexualizing everything even when it’s nothing sexual at all. We are sexualing pictures of nursing mothers, nakey baby photos, and little girls with earrings? (I use those examples because you cannot on myspace, facebook, or photobucket have those sorts of photos because it’s either deemed indecent exposure or kiddie porn..) It’s disgusting. Kids are kids, and adults need to stop sexualizing every single thing they do.

dalepetrie's avatar

@casheroo – I agree, and I think that piercing a baby’s ears plays into that culture, I’d rather fight back against it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@casheroo well what is the reason for you piercing your daughter’s ears? i’m sure you’re not into sexualizing your child

cookieman's avatar

@dalepetrie: Many cultures, around the world, for thousands of years have adorned their children with jewelry, head-dresses, and pierced ears. I highly doubt you’ll find any evidence that these traditions “sexualized” their children.

The supposed sexualization of earrings on a child is your perception. Probably not that of the parents that made that choice.

In our case (as I addressed above and to answer @Simone_De_Beauvoir‘s question to @casheroo) it was based on my wife’s family tradition. Nothing more.

There is much out there (some beauty pageants for example) that often go way too far and do sexualize children. Earrings are not one of them, IMHO.

casheroo's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir my reasoning is purely for practicality. I want to take care of the piercings myself, because I can do a better job. I want it to be done and over with so she won’t remember…just like getting a vaccine (they’re painful but quick and kids don’t remember them) To me, it’s not making a statement…even though I know it does because it’s putting a gender role on the girl. But, I think ear piercing alone won’t destroy who that child is. To me, it’s an insignificant part of can be taken out if she wishes.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@casheroo thank you for answering

ubersiren's avatar

Ear piercing doesn’t have to have anything to do with gender. Boys can pierce their ears, too. By saying that piercing a girl’s ears is sexualizing, you yourself are sexualizing.

Also, I was 9 when I got my ears pierced at the mall. I don’t remember it hurting at all. I guess it depends on who does it.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ubersiren well sure it’s possible to pierce boys’ ears but how many parents do that?

casheroo's avatar

@ubersiren Those mall piercing guns can destroy tissue. I would never take my child to one of them.
@Simone_De_Beauvoir My cousin got her sons ear pierced, he just turned 3, I think he got it done at 1 or 2. I have to say, I found it very weird.

ubersiren's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir : That’s not the point. It’s the fact that people automatically assume it’s sexualizing at all. Why does piercing ears mean you’re defining your child as a girl? I know why society thinks so, but I think for myself. I live in a very Latino community and many of the boys (and girls) around here have their ears pierced. That could just be around here, though.

@casheroo : No doubt. I don’t have much experience with them. Just mine and my sister’s piercings.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ubersiren ha, believe me I wish it wasn’t so…it doesn’t have to be, you’re right…I don’t think it’s sexualizing, necessarily, and I wouldn’t do it to any sex if they were my children…when I have my boy toddler play with trucks, people scream ‘oh but you want to be so gender non conformant, why do you let him play with ‘boy toys’..and I say playing trucks shouldn’t have to be a ‘boy’ thing and if I had a girl child, she’d play with them as well..

dalepetrie's avatar

@cprevite – and you’ll see in my first sentence that some cultures do that, and if it was a cultural thing, no biggie. But in OUR culture, if you LACK a cultural purpose for doing so, you’re playing into the part of our culture that sexualizes children. In other words, I completely agree with you about the cultural part, but I did clearly address that part of it already.

cookieman's avatar

@dalepetrie: I see that, but you can’t separate the two as people who choose to pierce their child’s ears for “cultural” reasons co-exist in this country with those you refer to affiliating with “OUR culture”.

So, are you saying that by virtue of their family’s culture they are immune to this supposed sexualization of children happening in “OUR culture”? Truth is, most of these families (myself included) exist is both cultures simultaneously.

I still disagree that piercing a child’s ears contributes to sexualizing them in any culture. I think that is simply one perception – apparently yours. I understand this, but don’t see it that way.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Jack79 “because of the whole logic of treating the newly-born human being as a living doll.” That’s the best reason I’ve see yet, but I keep thinking of my niece. Her mother was very fashion concious with her, making sure she had little head bands and such, always dressed up like a Precious Moments doll, and I can’t see where it hurt her any. She just earned a sports scholarship to college in a woman’s softball league.

YARNLADY's avatar

response to a couple of comments above: The only time it would hurt is if the piercer did not use a deadening cream or jell, or at least some ice. When experienced professionals do it correctly, there is no pain.

Also, overnight earrings for babies are made from very fine, treated thread, not metal.

rooeytoo's avatar

@YARNLADY – I repeat myself, my ears were pierced by experienced professionals, accredited by the state authority with the anesthetic cream and IT HURT, briefly, but IT HURT. They also were sore for some time afterwards especially while trying to sleep. Actually I still find a lot of earrings uncomfortable to sleep in.

@dalepetrie – I agree with most everything you said, the fashions for little girls these days is often horz. I do think that earrings are at the low end of the sexualizing but yep, it has the elements of that for sure.

Except perhaps for the cultural aspect. But that said, I see, where I live, a lot of bad things ignored because of the “culture” excuse, young teens married off to old men, etc.

dalepetrie's avatar

@cprevite – my point wasn’t if you JUST do that…clearly you can’t separate people for why they do it just on the surface, I think the problem is that a lot of people who don’t have a cultural reason for doing it, are doing it to make their little girls look like they something they shouldn’t look like, that’s what I don’t like.

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