A few days ago Kylie Jenner posted a cute video of her and baby Stormi on Instagram, and once again the people of the Internet had something negative to say about it. Kylie, apparently, had 5-month-old Stormi’s ears pierced and the first-time mom got a ton of backlash from her followers.
Honestly, I just don’t get it. There are plenty of reasons to hate on Kylie — despite the massive fortune she’s managed to accrue, she is easily the most vapid of all the Kardashian-Jenner sisters — but her choice to pierce her daughter’s ears isn’t one of them. Infant ear piercing is nothing new, it’s been a customary practice in many cultures including those of pretty much every Latin American and Caribbean country for generations.
I wasn’t even aware that it was such a hot-button issue until a few years ago when I was pregnant with my own daughter and saw similar criticisms of both Kylie’s sister Kim Kardashian and Beyonce for having their daughters’ ears pierced when they were toddlers. I was stunned. My ears were pierced when I was six weeks old, and I had always intended to get my daughter’s ears pierced as early as possible.
So I read through some of the criticisms most of which mentioned body modification and how babies and young children are too young to give consent for those modifications. Would I be doing something awful if I pierced my daughter’s ears as a baby? Every little Latina baby I knew growing up had her ears pierced, so I just did not understand the controversy. But I discovered that most of those criticisms were made by White women, who obviously had no knowledge of or even respect for the traditional practices of countries where it’s common to pierce the ears of baby girls as early as birth.
Calling infant ear piercing child abuse is totally baffling. Anyone who has ever had their ears pierced knows it hardly hurts at all —and is no different than the pinch of an immunization or blood draw. Comparing a common, non-damaging cultural rite-of-passage to child abuse isn’t just cruel, it’s insensitive, and creates confusion about what actually constitutes child abuse.
Thankfully, people from countries like Spain, India, Nigeria and others quickly came to Kylie’s defense, schooling the naysayers on ear piecing norms throughout the world. After all, everyone’s entitled to an opinion and is free to make their own choices for their children, but it’s not okay to attack another mother about her decisions, especially those that cause no harm or damage to anyone.
— Mandy (@IbadinAmanda) July 18, 2018
I knew exactly what I was doing when I pierced her ears and that some people wouldn’t approve of it, and so did Kylie. Her sister went through the same criticism with North West, so I’m sure she was warned before she had Stormi’s ears pierced, and I say good for her for not letting the opinions of strangers sway her decision.