I was 14 years old when I got my ears pierced the first time. My sister and I had begged my mom for years to let us get it done. I was so excited, mostly because it felt like a rite of passage into young adulthood, and party because I thought I would look so grown up. It turns out, getting my ears pierced was definitely one of those things that was better in theory, and there are a few reasons why I refuse to pierce my daughter's ears, at least not until she's older.
Don't get me wrong, I love piercings and have a ton of piercings and tattoos. I think body modification is beautiful and allows me to share parts of myself with the world, while simultaneously representing my inner self on the outside. My daughter, however, is not really old enough to know if she wants something permanent and painful done to her body, and right now she's not really responsible enough to effectively take care of pierced ears. Also, since we waited until our stepdaughter's 10th birthday to let her pierce her ears, we should probably wait and see if our younger daughter is ready when she turns 10 years old, too. You know, just to be fair.
Ultimately, it's her body and she gets to decide if she wants to make changes to it, but only when she's old enough to choose.
Because It's Her Body
Because It's Permanent
In our culture lots of people pierce their babies' ears, and it seems like no big deal. To me, however, it is a big deal. Even though a person can take a piercing out, piercings are permanent.
Because It Hurts
On a scale of a bee sting to back labor, ear piercing doesn't really hurt that much (in my opinion). Still, it hurts. I refuse to cause my child unnecessary pain, especially when they are too young to really understand what they are in for.
Because It's Risky
Piercings sometimes get infected and sometimes leave a scar. I don't want to expose my child to those kinds of risks when she's too young to weigh those risks for herself and make an informed decision.
Because She Might Change Her Mind
When my daughter changed her mind after getting her hair cut for the first time, I comforted her by saying that it would grow back. Earring holes are forever, though. So what if she changes her mind?
Because She Isn't Old Enough To Take Care Of Them
I still have to remind my daughter to brush her teeth and flush the toilet, so I don't think she's ready to take care of pierced ears by herself.
Because I Don't Own Her
Children are people, not possessions. I don't even cut my children's hair or pick their clothes without their permission. I am certainly not going to pierce their ears.
Because It's Not Up To Me
Ultimately, my kids deserve to make choices about body modification themselves, when they are old enough to understand the potential consequences and responsibilities involved with that choice. It's not up to me.
Because It's Sexist
In our culture, we generally don't adorn little boy's bodies with jewelry to make them more attractive or distinguish them from other babies. So, why do we do this to girls? My daughters don't exist on the planet to look pretty for other people. It's sexist AF to pierce a baby's ears, especially when they are too young to consent, just so they're "cuter" to look at.
Because She Hasn't Asked Yet
So far, my daughter hasn't asked to have her ears pierced and we haven't offered. When she's old and responsible enough to understand the risks and ramifications, we will support her if she chooses to get piercings and other body modifications. Until then, however, it's just not happening.