Call me insensitive, but I find this really funny: An op-ed piece in The New York Times stirred up a huge debate about whether it's ok to have your daughter's ears pierced when she's a baby--like many of us Latina moms do. First of all, I find it funny because, really, who cares? I mean, in the grand scheme of things, how is this even important? Secondly, I'm not sure I'd call this a tradition, but every single one of my friends back in Peru had their ears pierced as babies and did the same thing with their girls once they were born. In fact, I don't know if it's still done, but back in my time, newborn girls left the hospital with their ears pierced!

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I cannot tell you how I wished that had been an option when I gave birth to my daughter almost six years ago. Instead, I had to search high and low for a pediatrician who'd be willing to do this apparently torturous procedure on my daughter--and scar her for life in the process. Whatever! 

Anyhow, I never did find a doctor willing to pierce my daughter's ears and so, reluctantly, I took her to one of those kiddy salons when she was 4-months old (I can't believe I had to wait so long!) and got it done there. It took all of 5 seconds and both ears were done at the same time (by what looked like a 12-year-old). Vanessa's cries undoubtedly pierced my heart, but just as quickly as it all got started, it was over! The result: my baby looked absolutely adorable with her two little pearl earrings!

While I respect other moms' decisions not to "do" this to their daughters, I expect to get back the same kind of respect. That clearly is not the goal of some of the people leaving comments in the Time's op-ed where they're are comparing ear piercing with mutilation, the Chinese custom of foot binding and ancient tribal practices. Or how about those who think that if you pierce your baby's ears you might as well get her a tattoo.

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But the comments I have the most problems with are the ones that insult my culture saying that ear piercing for babies is low class. Can someone please tell me what one thing has to do with the other? This comment, however, takes the cake:

If you cannot learn to appreciate the beauty of a baby girl with natural, pierce-less ears, than maybe you don't belong in our culture.

Is this person for real? We're only talking about ear piercing, people...

What do you think about ear piercing for little girls?

Image via javaturtle/flickr

About the author

Roxana A. Soto is Features Editor for MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a girl in 3rd grade and a boy in Kinder. She loves books, languages, traveling and good food – especially when cooked by someone else.

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Well said!
Dixie...

If I ever had a daughter I wouldn't pierce her ears as an infant. I absolutely hate the fact that my mother pierced my ears as an infant. Then had me keep earrings in them until I was about 12 yrs old. Now I have holes in my ears that I don't want. I don't wear earrings. I think that ear piercing should be the decision of the person who the ears are on.

 

I can't believe people are so incensed over piercing babies ears!  My ears were pierced when I was a baby, but because I didn't wear earrings all the time, they closed up.  I had to have them re-pierced when I was older.  The way the piercings are done now is done in a more sterile condition than years ago.  OK, so which culture is this person talking about?  The AMERICAN culture is a MELTING POT of many cultures... so I'm a little confused.  I just wish people had as much passion over things that matter, like our children being exposed to drugs, or the price of gas.  

 

The bottom line is she's my child and if I want to pierce her ears, I will! And if you don't want to pierce your child's ears, then dont! I do feel that its a part of my culture, and if you don't like it, then too bad! Go pick on people that circumcise thier sons! Jk, lol. But really people, get a life.
RisaA...

I agree with Angela, agreed!

SEA0701

LOL yeah i feel you Angela Avalos, my baby girl got her ears pierced when she 3 Months!! OMG so u know how at claire's they do it like right in the entrance , there where a lot of people past by that would shaking their  head's NO, like as if i was crazy or havig her get a tattoo or something....NOT A BIG DEAL PEOPLE!! (My hubby did take a video and picx tho) Otra cosa es having ur lil boys ears pierced, the other day i took mi hija to her check-up and in the waiting room there was a lil boy about 18 of age w/ his ears pierce. The mom thought he was soo cool, yeah he was cute but its a BOY lady....

libel...

Well said Roxana!

lulusf

you're piercing her ears....not cutting off the babies foreskin.  I really don't see what the big deal is.  My daughter cried the same amount as when she got her immunization shots.  People who talk all that mess about piercing their babies ears are scared, ignorant humans.  They portray their own fears in their children who know nothing from right and wrong.  I got my daughters ears peirced when she was 6 months old.  She cried for a minute and now she looks super cute.  It's like dressing your kid up.....or buying them fancy shoes.....not a big deal.  I got my ears peirced when i was a baby....i don't have any scars or any strange fears, i don't even remember.  By all means if you don't want to do it do your kid, then don't, but don't talk crap for people who do.  We don't talk crap cuz your kid dosen't look as cute without her earings....boom.

JCTVCBN

 

Before I had kids,

I thought that if I had a daughter, I'd pierce her ears as a baby.

Now,

I feel that if I had a daughter, I would not pierce her ears.

I would leave it up to her to decide if and when she wanted her ears pierced.

 

nonmember avatar
This surprises me. If I had a baby girl, instead of my boys, it never would have occurred to me to have her ears pierced even as a toddler, much less as a tiny baby. I would have waited for her to make her own decision when she was (to me) old enough. I'm an anglo mama, and it's not that I think it's bad, it's just not what I'm used to, and looks very odd to me. I guess if that's what you're accustomed to, and what you'd always known, it would be strange not to follow this practice. I'm curious as to why it's important to have the piercing done as soon as possible. Not to judge, but just to get perspective on a mom's point of view. Is it maybe to differentiate girl babies from boy babies, is it a safety issue (to have it done in hygienic conditions of a hospital), is there an element of social pressure, or is it something else entirely?
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