Claire’s Child Ear-Piercing Policy Is Under Fire But Latinas Have Opinions Of Their Own

@DailyHiveVan / Instagram

For many Latinas, getting their ears pierced is a cultural rite of passage, one of the first introductions to their culture and identity as a Latino. Yet, despite this view of a pinch to the ear as a cultural stepping stone, many in recent years have begun to contemplate the implications of the act and include it in conversations about children, body autonomy and consent.

This week, a former employee of Claire’s, the American retailer of accessories that has pierced nearly 100 million ears across the globe in forty years, criticized the store online for its role in piercing children’s ears without their consent.

A former Canadian Claire’s employee said she was pressured to pierce a seven-year-old’s ears despite the fact that she protested against the procedure.

Raylene Marks of Alberta, Canada says that she quit her job at one of Claire’s retail stores over the company’s ear-piercing policy. In a widely shared post to her Facebook account, Marks wrote “An Open Letter to Claire’s Corporate” describing an incident in which she refused to pierce the ears of a seven-year-old customer, who “made it clear she no longer wanted to get her ears pierced.”

According to Marks, she and her colleague were supposed to do a “double” — a term for piercing both ears at the same time—on the young client who had been brought in by her mother. Marks wrote in her post that the girl cried and said that she “didn’t want us touching her, that we were standing too close, that she was feeling uncomfortable.”

The girl and her mother left before the piercings could be done, but Marks eventually went and complained to her manager who told her that if the mother had insisted that they continue with the procedure, Marks “would have had no choice but to do it.”

Marks says that she quit her job at Claire’s over her manager’s response the same day.

The former Claire’s employee’s viral post has relaunched debate over piercings and Latinas have had varying opinions.

Users on Facebook have brought in various opinions about the incident. One user wrote  “So…we teach kids to speak up when someone is touching them and making them uncomfortable to prevent sexual abuse, tell them to tell a parent when this happens. Then this parent the child is supposed to trust ignores them, and a corporate policy expects employees to help the parent disrespect what the child is saying? How can kids learn to respect their own body when the adults around them don’t?”

Latinas launched a discussion on consent and how piercings related to their own cultures.

Many were quick to say they were grateful they didn’t have to deal with the pain of piercings when they were odler.

Others pointed out that they would never force a child to do it if they didn’t want to.

Others highlighted the normalcy of the piercings.

And others pointed to other issues– that piercings are used as a signifier of femininity.

She's Not Running For President, But Oprah Did Just Donate Two Million Dollars for Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico


She’s Not Running For President, But Oprah Did Just Donate Two Million Dollars for Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico

@IRislasque / Twitter

Still recovering from Hurricane Maria, arts and culture programs in Puerto Rico have received millions from media mogul, Oprah Winfrey. In the fall of 2017, Hurricane Maria claimed the lives of 3000 American citizens, in the US territory of Puerto Rico. However, disaster relief from the government has been slow to arrive. Fortunately, celebrities, like Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Anthony, and Bethenny Frankel are willing to give financial support.

For her part, Winfrey donated to The Hispanic Federation and The Flamboyan Arts Fund, one million dollars to each. The Hispanic Federation’s UNIDOS Disaster Relief & Recovery Program assists in providing basic needs to Puerto Ricans.

The Flamboyan Arts Fund is, according to People Magazine, “focused on continuing the island’s rich heritage of arts, culture and creative development.”

Meanwhile, President Trump who stated publicly that Puerto Ricans “want everything done for them,” is still insisting, as recently as April 2, that Puerto Rico has received 91 billion in relief aid. In fact, only 40.7 billion dollars of relief have been approved by Congress. Furthermore, FEMA officials have gone on record saying only a fraction of the 41 million has made it to the island.

In a tweet that followed his announcement about the 91 million in aid, the president said that he is the best thing to ever happen to Puerto Rico.

Winfrey said, in a statement, that she was inspired by Hamilton creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, to donate.

Miranda recently brought his Broadway play to Puerto Rico to help the island heal and to bring attention to the oft-forgotten arts in the recovery efforts after a disaster. Celebrities such as Jimmy Fallon and Quest Love mingled on opening night of the Puerto Rican production. Miranda, whose father is a native to Puerto Rico, reprised his role as Alexander Hamilton for the island. Oprah Winfrey attended the Puerto Rican production at the Bellas Artes in San Juan.

Winfrey’s donation has been covered by many news outlets and many on Twitter are praising Winfrey for her good deed.

This twitter user was quick to praise Winfrey after the news broke.

CNN and Telemundo contributor, Ana Navarro-Cárdenas praised Winfrey too.

Navarro-Cárdenas also noted the irony of the Trump administration’s suspect support of Puerto Rico in light of Winfrey’s donation. You may also recognize Ana Navarro-Cárdenas as a co-host on The View.

Some, however, have called Winfrey’s donation a publicity stunt.

Publicity stunt or case of no-good-deed-goes-unpunished?

The dead man referred to in the tweet is Michael Jackson. It appears Winfrey is being criticized for support of the portrayal of Michael Jackson in the recently released documentary Leaving Neverland. In her special Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Leaving Neverland, Winfrey interviews
James “Jimmy” Safechuck and Wade Robson who accused Jackson of sexual abuse in the documentary. The interviews were taped before an audience of sexual abuse survivors. Those criticizing Winfrey appear to devoted Michael Jackson fans, but Winfrey is also being accused on Twitter of protecting Harvey Weinstein. Connections to Weinstein remain unclear, especially in light of her acceptance speech for the Cecile B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes in 2018. The speech focused on racism, violence against women, and the #MeToo movement.

Only time will tell if Winfrey is being punished for her good dead, or if any revelations about shadowy allegations will be made. For now, her generosity towards Puerto Rico does seem to be infectious.

Florida Senator, Rick Scott is donating too.

Just one day after Oprah Winfrey announced that she would donate to the Puerto Rican relief efforts, Florida senator, Rick Scott made a similar announcement. Rick Scott has pledged a portion of his salary to aid Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria who are now living in Florida.

Good deed or publicity stunt, it appears that Oprah Winfrey’s donation is inspiring others to give. The donation also appears to be keeping the spotlight on Puerto Rico. The people of Puerto Rico, American citizens, many of whom have just recently had their electricity restored are still waiting for all 40 billion dollars of the aid committed by Congress to find its way to the island. They’d probably like to see the 91 billion that the president keeps talking about.