My daughter asked me how I feel about piercing my four-year old grandson’s ear. I hadn’t expected the question this early in his young life. Ultimately, she decides as his mother if and when body manipulation will enter the picture.

The question made me wonder how families handle ear piercing for boys. I found a bit of gender bias on my part as I thought about the issue. With my granddaughter, I didn’t think twice when her mother had her ears pierced. She was still a new born only a few months old when she returned from the mall with newly pierced ears. She started developing a keloid on her right ear and the pediatrician recommended she not wear earrings for at least a year. This isn’t uncommon in black skin.

2We keloid easily and unfortunately, you may not realize how susceptible you are to keloids. My daughter fretted over not being able to put earrings in her baby girls ear. It didn’t help that my grand daughter’s hair growth was slow early on, and my daughter feared she’d be mistaken for a baby boy. That makes the point again that ear piercing is often done to make parents feel better.

Thankfully, the keloid disappeared on its own and she hasn’t experienced any scarring. She loves earrings and while it wasn’t her choice to have her ears pierced it was silently sanctioned and not questioned.

My gender bias comes in with feeling that boys should earn the privilege of having pierced ears. I think it should be treated as a rite of passage into middle or high school. I really don’t have a firm set of criteria other than a cultural reason be tied in and that young men accept responsibility for keeping the wound clean until it heals, and not to accept jewelry from girls. While gifts from girls are another conversation, it should be said that gift-exchanges bear monitoring.

EPIDEMICCAST-DeAndre-JadenSmithAnother question, do parents object to two earrings. Is there a difference in reservations if only one ear is pierced? What about stretching the pierced ear for the oft gaudy ear plugs that appear to be painful?

While artists set the tone in popular culture and have a lot to do with setting trends, I don’t know that pierced ears for boys needs to happen too quickly. It certainly deserves consideration by both parents without it, I can feel an argument brewing. I don’t want to curve expression for those who may be come musicians later in life, but I don’t think a male child in elementary school needs the adornment.

I posed the question on my Face book page and the overwhelming response, is that when young men became of age they can do what they want. Some moms are allowing magnetic earrings that don’t require piercings. Those that posted on my page feel the same way about tattoos. When their sons hit eighteen or twenty-one (defining “of-age” varies among my friends) they will go with the flow.Of course I realize the age difference between my peers and my daughter’s generation lends room for lots of gray area. My hope is that people will consider long and hard before jumping on the band wagon.
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About The Author

C. Imani Williams, is a freelance writer and social justice activist. She works to bring about awareness and positive change. Imani's writing has appeared in Black Fem Lit Magazine, Alt. Variety, Teen Girl Talk Magazine, Diva Gossip, Hello Shopper, Geleyi and various other publications. Imani, holds an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction writing from Antioch University. The Detroit, Michigan native resides in So. California, where she greets the sun with a smile.

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