I usually stay out of the affairs of when it comes to raising other peoples kids.
But I couldn’t help but throw in my 5 cents when my sister told me her in-laws (the grandma) was urging my sister to get my niece’s ears pierced. Grandma has gold ear rings lying in wait for to dangle off her lobes. My sister is kind of a people pleaser which is why I felt I had to give her a different point of view as to why it might be a good idea to wait.
I told her she should wait until she is old enough and actually asks for this herself. I told her maybe she won’t want her ears pierced. Being a women this is unlikely but still. I told her imagine the day when she asks mom I think I wan’t my ears pierced. She could then have that small talk about personal responsibility and her body etc. I thought it be a good chance for a life learning lesson.
When I was a kid in the 70’s it was pretty common for female infants to get their ears pierced pronto. But when I heard of this I felt like Kramer in that episode of Seinfeld where he tries to save the kid at the bris.
I’ve never had my ears pierced. When I tell people this, they seem aghast. Some ask to examine my ears, not believing this to be true, or who tell me if the holes have closed up I can get them redone, apparently uncomprehending that it was never done in the first place. I have had people who’ve known me for years give me earrings as gifts, because apparently they never noticed I don’t have pierced ears, don’t wear earrings, and I guess it’s just stamped in their brains that female=pierced ears.
Some of them then proceed to tell me where the nearest ear-piercing service is located. You know, given that I’m nearly 50, it’s probably a good guess that if I don’t have pierced ears by now I probably don’t want them. It’s not like I’ve been living under a rock for five decades, I know what earrings are and where to get them and holes in my ears.
I dunno, maybe they think I’m a victim of parental neglect for not having unnecessary holes drilled into me without my consent. I feel that pierced ears should be a matter of personal choice, not the parents’ choice, but I guess I’m just an old fuddy-duddy that way.
What do you mean “still”? If anything, it seems to be becoming more common.
I don’t think it’s becoming more common. I haven’t had either of my daughters’ ears pierced. Nor do I think that any of my friends who have daughters have gotten theirs done either. I’ve been told that it’s more of a Latino thing to have babies ears done but couldn’t say for sure.
I’ve noticed a few babies in chuch and what-not with pierced ears, but I don’t think it’s happening as much as it used to.
We have two daughters- 8 and 10- and when they were infants we had lots of people ask us if/when we were going to pierce their ears. Neither me or my wife were really into doing it, so we figured we’d wait until the girls asked us themselves and we knew they were ready. So far, each of them has asked once, and we told them “maybe when you’re a little older”, just to see if they pressed the issue.
They didn’t. We have no problem doing it, but we want to make sure they really want to have it done, and so far it doesn’t sound like they’re pushing for it.
I’ve never had my ears pierced, nor did I do it to my daughter when she was born. In fact, when she was 12 and we decided she was old enough to take care of her own piercings, I couldn’t even be around for the procedure. So her dad took her, and I walked around the mall, trying not to think about it, getting woozy when I did. Yeah, I’m a wuss.
At the other extreme, my mother-in-law was in her 70s when she decided to get hers done. And a friend of my parents got one of his ears pierced when he was in his 60s, just for the hell of it.
This was about nineteen years ago, but I had my daughter’s ears pierced when she was about a year old. I had one of mine pierced first, just to be sure it didn’t hurt. It didn’t, and my daughter didn’t cry when she had hers pierced.
Most or all of the girls in her first grade class also had had their ears pierced. Most or all of the boys in my son’s tenth grade class had been pierced also - he had his tongue pierced at his high school graduation party. (Since closed up).
It’s also a Latino/Hispanic thing. Some have them pierced right away in the hospital, while others have the ears pierced by their pediatricians or their assistants later on. I had mine pierced while still a baby, after the first round of vaccines (the way they were scheduled then) my mom made an appointment with the pediatrician, and he pierced my ears.
We’ve had these discussions before, and it always comes up with thinking of “the other” as barbaric.
FWIW, I still have my ears pierced but seldom wear earrings. They’re perfect, centered, and not dangling.
My wife is Quebecoise, and we had a few conversations about it, which went around in little circles of “Lots of my friends’ baby girls have pierced ears, I think it’s cute.” “I really think body modifications should be done on a strictly voluntary basis.”
Social ritual serves a purpose- it initiates someone into the tribe, marks the passage of time, commemorates milestones, builds common experiences, etc. We don’t have a ton of these rituals left, and what we do have is often not deeply imbued with much symbolism. Still, I think it can serve a useful purpose in forming social and familial cohesion.
Piercing infants’ ears is about as benign as social ritual gets. If it exists in someone’s culture, I really don’t see any reason to get worked up about it.
In addition to what even sven said, there is also a folk belief among some Latinos that gold earrings draw the evil eye away from the infant, so (assuming your culture accepts that premise), it is actually done to protect the baby’s health and well-being.
I would argue that it’s less harmful than infant circumcision, which is irreversible.
I didn’t see this line until Eyebrows 0f Doom highlighted it. I violently disagree here: female infanticide exists in people’s culture, as does systematic abuse of women and racism and all sorts of other things. “It’s my culture” isn’t a pass for bad behaviour.
First daughter didn’t get them pierced until 8yrs-
Because it was a minor pain in the butt to deal with, and clean, with her 8 year old self, daughter that is currently baking will be pierced as an infant. Easier to deal with…
Just about every other girl child I know has her ears pierced…
Sure, but I don’t think that it being part of someone’s culture should be a part of the argument. I think ear piercing of infants is no big deal but that’s because it’s not very risky or damaging, not because it exists in someone’s culture.
Back in the 80’s-90’s I managed one of those mall stores that does on-site ear piercing. It was very common for moms to bring in their babies to get their ears pierced, the usual reasons were that “when she’s older, she’d mess with them and they’d get infected; if I do it now, she’ll always have them.” OR “People think she’s a boy.” The youngest baby I ever pierced was, I kid you not, when a mom came in to the mall ON HER WAY HOME FROM THE HOSPITAL to get the baby’s ears done.
I personally objected to doing it (I would not do it to my own children), but it was part of my job and I pierced hundreds of baby ears. The only time I refused was if the baby’s earlobes were just too teeny to hold an earring (and that was sometimes the case).
I myself don’t understand the idea of poking extra holes in my child unnecessarily, but it was VERY common.