Ear piercing: Is it child abuse?
THERE are many decisions we make as parents that others will disagree with. There's the old circumcision debate, the breast versus bottle debate, co-sleeping ... The list goes on.
What makes these decisions even more difficult is the fact that they can often spark heated debate among parents, family, friends and even the butcher up the road! It doesn't matter that he doesn't have any kids, but you can bet he has an opinion on whether ear piercing is morally acceptable or not.
"We're slamming needles in their ears!"
Speaking on This Morning in the UK, Journalist Alley Einstein argues that there should be a minimum age set by law on ear piercing. She labels the piercing of young children's ears as a form of "child abuse" and compares it to female genital mutilation.
"I think we should set a time and an age for when children should be allowed to have it done," she said.
"It should be at least 10 years of age because I think we're just forcing our children to be sexualised too early. We're slamming needles into their ears. 12 and 18-gauge needles. We don't need to do that, our children are beautiful enough."
Arguing for the opposite viewpoint was mother-of-two, Raj Gill, whose daughter had her ears pierced at five years old.
Gill refers to Public Health England and states that, "there is not any imminent threat or danger to the child to have their ears pierced".
Einstein interrupts to ask Gill, "Do you support female genital mutilation?" then continues her debate again, not allowing Gill to finish justifying her stance on the topic.
"Wales has become the first country to ban children under the age of 18 having intimate piercings," she said.
Back to the topic at hand: ears
The show's hosts brought the debate back yet again from genitals to ears and Gill.
Gill's daughter wanted her ears pierced and has them done at five years of age. "It's so fast, it's so tiny, it's just done!" she said.
Gill explained that her daughter would have been the first person to speak up if the pain was too much. It is also a cultural thing in her family where the women would buy jewellery together and have jewellery made together, and her daughter had grown up witnessing it all, waiting for the time when she could become a part of that tradition.
Einstein argued that if she had her dog's ears pierced people would "likely be ostracised by the entire world," to which Gill rebutted with this simple statistic: "83 percent of the world's population have their ears pierced."
"Yes, and 75 percent of the British population want it banned," replied Einstein.
As Gill explained, there are health implications, but as long as you are practising the appropriate follow-up care and the child is willing and not in any pain or imminent danger, what is the problem?
It was revealed that Einstein had likened saying piercing a child's ears is culturally acceptable is going down the same path as Adolf Hitler, and suddenly it was over for us.
The internet responded
While many people on parenting forum, Mumsnet did not agree with the piercing of young children's ears, they were mostly outraged at the ridiculousness of the way it was debated.
"Raging at the ridiculousness of the convo," wrote one person.
Another said, "Now the woman is saying Kids ear piercing is basically the same as FGM !! I mean WTF ? Get a grip. No it's not!"
"I know ear piercing for babies is contentious," added another, "but I cannot believe that woman was so crass as to compare it to FGM."
And another: "It's not the same as FGM but when it's done for stupid religious or cultural reasons then it's the same kind of stupid, sheep following type behaviour that needs to be stamped out. It's mutilation and it should be against the law."
It's clear from the online comments that Einstein already had the majority won, but lost a few with her extreme debate tactics.
This article originally appeared on Kidspot and has been republished here with permission.