Posted June 17, 2014, By Natalie Honan, Creative Producer
I never thought I’d be writing a blog with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West as the subject matter, but their recent piercing of 1 yr old daughter North’s ears has kicked up some real controversy and I can’t help but wade in.
There are people with strong opinions for and against this ritual, and there are cultural and ethnic motivations behind some. They’re not the ones we’re talking about here though. These are the ones with no actual purpose other than parents adorning their baby’s ears with diamonds and pearls (in the case of Kim and Kanye, anyway), and dressing them up like a Christmas tree.
Sonia Poulton appeared on TV this morning in defense of piercing babies. Her argument seemed little more than ridiculous to me. She made the point that our children are being sexualised, which is far more pressing a matter. Isn’t giving a baby or small child adult piercings, with adult jewellery, sexualisation of our children? Sonia’s claims that it doesn’t hurt, and that parents are worse for giving their teenagers mobile phones fell on very cynical ears over here as well. For me, it is the fact that this act – whether painless or not (although we all know it isn’t) – is completely unnecessary. If a child grows and wants to have their ears pierced, by all means consider it then. I’m not against piercings – quite the opposite! I have several, but I made those decisions for myself. I wasn’t put through pain and trauma as baby for absolutely no reason other than turning into a fashion accessory. Small dogs in bags were the last one, but imagine piercing a dog’s ears? You’d have animal rights all over you – and for good reason! A defenseless animal, with absolutely no choice in the matter or way of communicating their distress or opinion. Hmmm, much like baby then...
It seems that desensitisation has played a part in this. We see babies with their ears pierced, so after time it becomes less shocking and more acceptable. But if you saw a baby with their upper ear cartilage or eyebrow pierced, or a tattoo, that would be an absolute crime and seen as child abuse. I can’t see any real difference. Often these piercings can lead to infections and given a baby’s developing immune system, why even risk it for some vicarious act of vanity. If your baby is all sparkly, does that make you a better parent? More virile? Better genes? It’s probably the opposite. If you don’t think your tiny miracle is beautiful enough, then that would be the issue I was inclined to address– not how to keep them still while someone puts metal bars through their ears.
I know this is going to get a lot of differing opinions, and I know I’m also at risk of sounding stuffy and old fashioned, but to take away anyone’s choice about anything is wrong in my eyes – especially when the motivation to do so is so superficial.
I’d love to hear real and genuine motivations for parents to have their baby’s ears pierced. Because outside of religion or culture, I can’t see any, except aesthetics. And in the case of the aforementioned ‘celebrity’ couple, using their baby as the next big accessory...just with added ear sparkle.