Enedina Vance had a point to make, and she wanted people to listen. So she came up with a plan that would elicit a strong reaction – and it worked, possibly a little too well.
She found a photo of her 6-month-old daughter and pasted a diamond stud on the baby’s dimple so it looked like it had been pierced, according to CNN. She then posted the photo to Facebook, with a long caption.
“I’m the parent, she is MY CHILD, I will do whatever I want!! I make all of her decisions until she’s 18, I made her, I own her!! I don’t need anyone’s permission, I think it’s better, cuter, and I prefer her to have her dimple pierced,” she wrote. “Its (sic) NOT abuse!! If it was (sic), it would be illegal, but it’s not. People pierce their babies everyday, this is no different.”
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“MY BABY, MY CHOICE!! PARENT’S CHOICE, PARENT'S RIGHTS!!” she continued. “Don’t judge my parenting, we all raise our kids differently, it’s none of your business anyway!!”
She ended the post with the hashtag “sarcasm,” but that seemed to escape the notice of a lot of people, who shared the photo and called her “horrible,” “dumb,” and “bad mother,” and said she should never have children. The picture had more than 13,000 shares Friday morning, just over a week after it was originally posted.
Vance said in another post that she’s also gotten hate mail, threats to call child protective services and even death threats. But she’s glad the photo got parents talking.
“The reaction that parents have when they see this beautiful perfect baby being ... mutilated, that initial shock, that reaction of anger, I want them to hold on to that,” the 35-year-old Ohio mother told CNN.
And while the post was meant to convince parents they shouldn’t pierce their young children, Vance said she also hopes the post’s lesson extends to those who consider circumcising their sons. She said when she was pregnant in the late ‘90s, she researched circumcision in case she had a boy. She had twin girls, but her research made her a staunch opponent of the practice.
“It felt so outdated, so primitive,” she told CNN. “We as a civilized society should have grown past this and (I) was shocked that cutting my infant’s genitals was even an option.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics wrote in 2012 that the “health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks, but the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision.”
Almost all states allow minors to get tattoos or piercings as long as they have the consent of a parent of guardian, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Among some cultures, getting a female baby’s ears pierced is a matter of tradition.
Vance said she ultimately believes children have the right to decide themselves. And though she received a lot of negative messaging, she also received a lot of support and praise from other parents.
“No one has the right to alter, modify, or mutilate another human being’s body for aesthetic purposes, not even parents,” she said.