It’s a rite of passage for so many young Latinas:
1. You are born.
2. You scream, because qué clase de carajo es esto???
3. You are whisked away to get your ears pierced basically while still halfway in your mom’s womb.
But why? Good question.
It’s one that’s been asked by non-Latinx and Latinx alike, including this mom posting on a parenting message board:
I asked my sister what she thought about it. I was curious about her opinion because she’s been in the U.S. since she was about 5, got her college degree here, etc… and is basically well immersed into “American” culture. Well she basically had the same attitude as my mom! I was really surprised! She asked me if I was “wussing out” and if I was becoming a “gringa.” I was really surprised. I didn’t expect her to respond like that. (Which by the way, I’m the only one of all my siblings who actually speaks Spanish to her children and they are very fluent in it!)
Of course, there might be a sliiight thread of sexism running through the whole thing. From the same poster as above:
We just had our first baby girl after having boys, and I’m a little torn on this. It seems to be big taboo in the Mexican community for a girl not to have earrings. I know that growing up, if I ever forgot to put mine on, my aunt would say, “Hola Nino”, or “Hello Boy.”
Credit: Warner Bros.
Yup. It’s a statement that’s probably not new to any of us.
Another Latina mom points out the tension this discussion can cause among moms of different cultures:
A lot of Anglo moms consider the practice barbaric and even borderline child abuse. Latina moms accuse Anglos of cultural insensitivity in the same breath that Anglo moms compare earlobe piercing to genital mutilation. There’s no winning this argument.
Credit: Paramount Pictures
Legend has it that…
…Once upon a time, a baby Latina went out into the world without pierced ears and an evil dragon found her and said, “Oye, pareces niño.” And the little girl was all like…
As for whethere it’s really child abuse, well. A lot of us whose ears were pierced before the placenta was even wiped away will readily tell you that we literally do not remember the moment it happened, and also that the larger the hoop we wear now, the stronger our super powers. But it’s ultimately up for parents to decide, y’know?
In any case: Worry not, little former holey-eared babies. You’re not alone.
Did you get your ears pierced as a baby? Would you pierce your baby’s ears? We wanna know, because we’re metiches.