When you’re told you can’t have access to something, it’s common to want it even more. It’s called “The Forbidden Fruit Effect” and it’s what makes us do a lot of dumb things.
It’s what made Kimberly Zapata, a writer for Scary Mommy, run off and get a meaningless tattoo the minute she turned 18. It had been forbidden and frowned upon by her parents. But the moment they could no longer do anything about it – there it was.
“I would like to say I had some grand plan, or even that I wanted something cool, but no. No, I simply wanted a tattoo because my mother didn’t want me to have one. Go figure,” she wrote.
Zapata wrote about the further, more well-thought-out body modifications she’s gotten since then as well. After all, once you’re given full control over your body – especially after being denied for years – some people go all out. And they have every right to.
Their bodies, their choices.
But Zapata surprised some readers when she said that she refuses to get her daughter’s ears pierced.
It’s something plenty of parents do and it’s a subject bound to stir debate about treating children like decor or allowing to express themselves.
Some think that after the moment of pain subsides, it’s not all that different from parents choosing their little ones’ clothing. Others think it’s a violation of their bodies before they can consent. Those in the middle think it’s just largely unnecessary to do when a child is young.
Zapata’s approach melds pretty well with her own tattoo philosophy. Her body, her choice.
So what’s surprising is that she’s getting pressure from outside her home to pierce her daughter’s ears. And it’s important to note, her daughter is a toddler!
“Before my daughter could sit or crawl, I had numerous family members ask when I would be piercing her ears, or they would express their shock I hadn’t done it yet. ‘But I thought you would be all about piercing her ears. I mean, with all your piercings and tattoos…’ they’d say.”
What sort of logic is that?!
Tattoos and piercings are about freedom and self-expression. So how do people so easily miss the point that Zapata wanted her daughter to be able to make her own decision?
“What seemed like a no-brainer to them — I had modifications so of course my daughter would — is precisely the reason my daughter doesn’t have any. Only she can decide what she wants to do with her body, and that decision comes with age, maturity, and language skills, not motherly intervention,” she wrote.
Of course, it’s also none of anyone else’s business what goes on in her toddler’s ears, but we know that’s never stopped a nosy friend or relative (or complete stranger).
Oddly enough, the pressure seemed to come with the insistence that “it’s just her ears.” And while a piercing may seem like no big deal, it is often permanent and will leave a mark if you wear earrings throughout your childhood.
She simply didn’t want to make that decision for her daughter.
“Piercing my daughter’s ears before she can decide if she wants them pierced would do her no good and actually create a potential problem, and one which I see as the biggest problem with infant/toddler piercing: the issue of consent.”
Even reflecting on her first ill-conceived tattoo, she Zapata was able to say that while it was a stupid choice, it was her’s to make.
Joelle Wisler wrote a similar article for Scary Mommy back in 2017, posing much the same question as she struggled to explain to her daughter (who was now old enough to have her ears pierced that it would, indeed, hurt for a moment).
“…I would have been taking something important away from her, something that every female child should realize is hers right from the start: her choice. Her body is not mine, and I don’t think I have the right to make permanent alterations to it,” she explained.
These moms are happy to acknowledge that in some cultures piercings are a different sort of expression and that those situations differ drastically from their own. They aren’t judging other moms for decisions about their daughters’ bodies either.
What a strange world where we have to defend a decision not to give a toddler a body modification!
Alas, Zapata isn’t going to make her daughter wait until she’s legally an adult to make the choice. She just has to be able to express what she wants, learn about the process, and agree to it all.
“If my daughter comes to me at 6 or 8 or even 10 and tells me she wants her ears pierced, I will educate her and then gladly accompany her to the nearest APP (Association of Professional Piercers) shop. But I will not force piercing on her, nor will I decide for her.”
Anything more, she argues, is modifying her daughter for her own personal vanity. And that’s no way to teach a girl about the power she should have (and always claim) over her own body.
You can click here to read Zapata’s entire piece.
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