Saturday, October 27, 2012

Should We Pierce Kids Too Little to Object? Musings While Waiting for the "Hurricane"

Or, if you like "the big, wet rainstorm" (thanks, Daria). Not sure what we'll be getting this time with Sandy but as you might already know, I'm not the type of person who freaks out about the weather. Go read that entry if you haven't already.

I still have that extra gig to write about. I've decided it's going to be my last one since now I've already worked with most of the bigger background companies in NYC, I've already gotten that learning experience I was doing it for & I'm pursuing other opportunities. More on that later, though.

Right now, it's been hurricane hysteria in my area. I figured while I was dealing with all this, I'd go on and write another of my many rants. Here's one such rant.

A while back I read this entry in a childfree community. Now, let me just say that I'm NOT a child hater & I stopped posting in this community ages ago when the PC police decided to get in my face.

This post brings up an interesting debate: is it cool to pierce a little child's ears (or anything else for that matter)? Or are you taking consent away from that kid or enforcing a gender norm that may not fit the kid as she ages?

The comments went in many directions & definitely made me think. One poster talked about how her earring holes were lopsided as she aged because of having them pierced so young. Others talked about how the practice was "cultural" and implied that those who'd claimed this culture used this to say that anyone outside that ethnic group/background had no right to a contrary opinion on the matter (which, if you try with me, I'm probably going to get in your face about if it's something I actually lived & might have some familiarity with). After some thought, I figured out my take.

I think you're a fucking moron with a lot of self-hate if you would pierce your little child's ears without that kid being old enough to ask for them. If you have other children under 5 and you're doing this, you're an even bigger moron.

If you're the relative of some child & get that kid pierced without the parents' okay, you need to be smacked upside the head & forced to have "inconsiderate prick" tattooed on your face. Painful consequences might make you think twice about making a parent have to deal with this.

Why do I say this? Because getting ears pierced isn't a painless process. It DOES hurt some. I have 3 holes in each ear; I insist on maintaining them. I got my first holes when I was in the 4th grade. You know, 9-10 years old when a kid's old enough to ask for them & take care of turning the studs, putting the solution on the piercings daily, keeping the holes clean, etc. One of those holes ended up growing back after I didn't wear earrings for a while & had a resumed interest in them in 6th grade.

I got the one hole re-pierced then got my second holes in 8th grade. I got my 3rd ones in the 10th grade (I'd have to double check this with class pictures but I'm pretty sure that's accurate; I waited 2 years between the second and third hold piercings). Paid for this stuff with my own money, by the way. I did babysitting when I was in 8th grade and did cat sitting before that. I also was very good about saving my allowance for bigger items.

Case in point: I bought Super Mario Bros. 3 in 1990 when it retailed for $50. I was in the 4th grade at the time & had paid to rent the game numerous times before I bought it with money I'd saved. I may have also paid for the tax but I'm not sure about that. I remember my parents being impressed with this.

My niece is 3 months old. I don't see my sister going & getting her ears pierced (even with her desire for that kid to be a girly girl). She already has one kid under 3 who's a handful; why would she want to add even more to her plate by piercing her little girl's ears? Do you want to add ear piercing maintenance to changing dirty diapers, feedings, burping, erratic sleep schedules, etc.?

Guess who has to clean the ears, turn the studs, put solution on, etc.? You do, Mommy & Daddy! Grandma probably won't have to. Auntie & Uncle probably won't have to. Don't let busybodies put more work on you! I say let the kid decide to do that & make sure they know THEY have to do the maintenance to keep the holes open, make sure the ears don't get infected, etc. If your child doesn't have that kind of personal responsibility, (s)he is too young to get pierced ears.

That entry dealt with ear piercings but could you see some parent getting their baby a navel ring or a tongue ring? I'm sure if that parent wanted to get a genital piercing for their kid, someone would be calling CPS immediately (I'd sure hope so anyway). Why is there a double standard for ear piercing? Why do people think it's okay to pierce ears without a parent's consent but would never think to pierce these other areas? I mean, when we're dealing with babies & kids who can't even speak in complete sentences, pain is pain is pain. Right? Someone want to explain this to me.

I'm just not convinced that a sane, rational parent has enough vanity to justify all that extra work to get pierced earrings for their infant or toddler.

Oh, and what if that kid's earring falls on the floor & (s)he likes to stick things in his/her mouth? You want to deal with that, folks? What if your child or a sibling died from that? Do you want that on your conscience for the rest of your life just because you were too lazy to find clip on earrings when you felt compelled to make your little girl dress like a child pageant contestant? Seriously, what child needs to wear earrings before (s)he can speak in complete sentences & not try taking them out or leaving them for younger siblings to think of as candy they can eat? Most aren't movie stars, pageant queens or even regular attendees of adult church.

Is it just another exercise in "keeping up with the Jones?" What if their kid gets a sleeve tattoo? Are you going to get one for YOUR kid next? Parenting, folks! If you can't do it, then don't procreate. We have enough neglected and abused kids already without deadbeats like you popping out more of them! No one wants to hear you bitching about what's on TV or who's doing a concert. No one is impressed with your imitation of a sprinkler; we just feel sorry for your kids & are pissed at you for draining society's resources by not bothering to parent.

I can also see the point of the female who is a tomboy or a butch lesbian that is as anti-feminine as it gets not being happy about a parent piercing her ears before she was old enough to consent or scream "No way, bitch!" I don't think I'd have liked someone doing that to me without my consent either. Most of us don't like being told what to do or having things inflicted on us without our consent.

Maybe the deadbeats in favor of this should ask how they'd like to have a tattoo they don't want placed in a location that they don't want while their lips are super glued shut, they are handcuffed and otherwise have NO way to tell anyone if they consent or object to that tattoo. They also don't get to shift to disturb the artist's work.

How about this punishment for those assholes? Then they might get what their kids feel about it. Have some damage to your career, self-esteem, psyche & person! Since your vanity runs too deep to think of your own self-interest, this might be the only way to bring home the level of harm a kid in this country could experience.

Note that I'm speaking of American customs & culture. That's where I live & it's my experience (as is everything I ever write about). If you want tolerance or at a minimum understanding of your culture, then you should start explaining instead of telling people they have no right to their opinion if they disagree. In America, that's how you get people to respect your views & values (unless you're dealing with total bigots, of course; that's a whole other scenario).

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