An Ohio mom recently shared a photo of her 6-month-old baby with a pierced cheek—and, hole-y crap, are people angry. The diamond stud was edited onto the photo and the caption included "#sarcasm," but that didn't stop people from thinking the piercing was real and sending Enedina Vance death threats, hate mail and warnings about calling child protective services.
Vance, a stay-at-home mom of six and inactivist, is strongly against piercing or circumcising children and against parents modifying their children's bodies before they're old enough to consent. To make a statement, the mom found a photo of her smiling daughter on her phone, slapped a jewel over the infant's dimple and posted it to Facebook.
"It looks so cute, right?!! I just know she's gonna love it!!" she wrote, along with sarcastic reasoning like, "I'm the parent, she is MY CHILD, I will do whatever I want," "I make all of her decisions until she's 18," and "People pierce their babies everyday, this is no different."
But after realizing that many people weren't quite getting her message, Vance posted on Facebook again, this time pointing out that while people were ready to beat her to death over her excuses for piercing her baby's cheek, those excuses are the same ones used to justify circumcision.
"Why so hypocritical?? How is it so triggering, so enraging to see my baby with a pierced dimple, but actually knowing a baby is being strapped down and forcibly having his most sensitive and innervative portion of his penis amputated seems perfectly OK? How can society threaten death over one, but encourage and support the other? Piercing is bad, but cutting is accepted as the norm?" the 35-year-old wrote. "People would rather continue to inflict an unnecessary and irreversible ritual onto their defenseless infant, than to have to admit that they don't know."
The mom is fed up with parents altering a child's body, especially for aesthetic reasons, though parents who choose to circumcise their children often cite health, cultural or religious reasons.
The American Academy of Pediatrics' current stance on circumcision is that while there are benefits to circumcision, these benefits are not great enough to recommend the procedure universally. The final decision should be left to the parents "in context of their religious, ethical and cultural beliefs."
While some parents were supportive of Vance's argument, others accused Vance of parent-shaming.
"Honestly, my post was meant to shock parents into seeing their children as human beings and to respect them as such," she responded. "The truth is, I never said anything about anyone's parenting. I never said anyone was a bad parent or accused them of abusing their child. I never made threats to call the police on them. ... I never wished infertility, hysterectomies or death upon them. I simply held up a mirror for them to see themselves, and somehow that translated into 'parent shaming.'"