Imagine scrolling through Facebook and seeing this little girl’s picture on your newsfeed. She’s smiling adorably, her dimples are showing — and one of them is pierced.
Image Credit: Enedina Vance/Facebook
You’d be outraged, if not horrified — how could any responsible mum give her baby a cheek piercing so young? Not only can her bub not consent, it’s a form of mutilation that her daughter may grow up to resent.
When mum of six Enedina Vance ‘gave’ her 6-month-old a dimple piercing and shared this photo on Facebook, she received a torrent of righteous anger. Commenters told her she should be charged, jailed, and even go to hell for her actions.
“My baby, my choice”
What no one realised was that the mum was doing this for a good cause. Enedina had Photoshopped the dimple piercing onto her little one, hiding a little clue to her sarcasm at the end of her caption.
Here’s the original Facebook post that sparked so many parents’ anger:
“People pierce their babies everyday, this is no different,” she writes. “MY BABY, MY CHOICE!! PARENT’S CHOICE, PARENT’S RIGHTS!!”
“Don’t judge my parenting, we all raise our kids differently, it’s none of your business anyway!”
These provocative words rightfully enraged many people on Enedina’s page. Concerned parents came out in force to protect her little one, some threatening to call child protection services for child abuse. Others called her a bad mum.
Many, many hate messages later, the mum made two more posts revealing the piercing truth. She pointed out the #sarcasm tag all the commenters had missed, and divulged that she was actually an activist against bodily alterations in children.
Wow, so as (hopefully) everyone knows, my last post was FAKE. I photoshopped that picture of the baby to look like I had…
Posted by Enedina Vance on Wednesday, 28 June 2017
The same people who vilified her for the dimple piercing, she pointed out, would readily carry out ear piercings on their own daughters and circumcision on their little sons.
So it appears that yesterday the focus was on how insane it would be if a parent were to modify & alter their child by…
Posted by Enedina Vance on Thursday, 29 June 2017
“Why so hypocritical?” this mum asks. “How is it so triggering, so enraging to see my baby with a pierced dimple, but actually knowing a baby is being strapped down & forcibly having his most sensitive & innervative portion of his penis amputated, seems perfectly ok?”
In her original post, Enedina deliberately parodied all the common justifications for modifying children’s bodies. She hoped to “shock” horrified parents into seeing commonly-accepted alterations like genital cutting in a different light.
“Altering a child’s body simply for aesthetic reasons is wrong, as all the angry post, comments, & hate mail explained.” ‘You don’t own your child!’… ‘Stabbing holes in your child is abuse & you don’t deserve to be a parent!’ Well said, I couldn’t agree more, so why are ear piercings & genital cutting so popular?”
Against bodily alterations in children
Enedina and her son. (Image Credit: Enedina Vance/Facebook)
Enedina became a passionate activist against bodily modifications in children when she first became pregnant, she tells Yahoo Beauty.
Her doctor asked if she wanted to circumcise her baby if it was a boy. The to-be mum went home to do research, and what she found horrified her.
“Research from around the world proves genital cutting serves absolutely no health benefits at all,” she shares. “In fact, studies I found show genital cutting actually causes damage to the penis. Lifelong damage.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)’s 2012 report states that “the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks.”
However, other studies have questioned these health benefits, arguing that “they do not represent compelling evidence for surgery before boys are old enough to decide for themselves.”
Ear piercings also carry many health risks, such as infection, contact allergies, and post-traumatic tearing. For this reason, AAP recommends that ear piercings should be postponed, until the child is old enough to take care of her own piercing.
Nevertheless, parents frequently see no problem with both types of bodily alterations in their children.
Male circumcision is a common medical procedure. Around a third of the world’s males are circumcised, according to Dr Gerald Tan, urology specialist at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. Ear piercings, especially for little girls, are just as widespread.
The question of hypocrisy
Enedina makes a compelling case, and it’s hard to argue with her logic that dimple piercings are just as objectionable as earring piercings. Male circumcision is a more complex story, since its medical benefits are still under debate.
Persuasive though her case may be, it’s uncomfortable, even bizarre, to think of ear piercings as violating our children’s bodies. We hardly glance twice if we see a little girl with pierced ears, let alone pause to consider the ethics of it.
The uncomfortable truth might also be that we don’t want to think of having possibly done our children wrong. As Enedina put it, “Every angry person who shared my post, did so in an attempt to shine light on an injustice.”
“Yet, that anger, that outrage, that need for justice disappeared the moment they realized everything they had said, about what I ‘did’ to my baby, actually described what they had done to their own child.”
Parents, what do you think? Would you pierce your child’s ears after hearing Enedina out? Let us know in the comments below!
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