What body modification do you think is okay for a parent to do to a baby? Pierced ears? Maybe. Tattoos? Um, no. Pierced cheek? Say what?!
That kind of horrified reaction is exactly what Ohio mom Enedina Vance expected (and got) when she posted a Facebook photo of her baby girl with a diamond stud in her dimple. See, the pic is Photoshopped—her daughter's cheek is totally intact—but Vance wanted to make parents think about another, very common type of baby body modification: Circumcision.
Hmmm, never thought of equating circumcision with body piercing? Most haven't, but Vance drew a pretty compelling parallel between how some parents talk about circumcision with how she sarcastically defended her decision to pierce her baby's cheek:
"I'm the parent, she is MY CHILD, I will do whatever I want!" she captioned the photo. "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, & I prefer her to have her dimple pierced. Its NOT abuse!! If it was, it would be illegal, but it's not. ... MY BABY, MY CHOICE!! PARENT'S CHOICE, PARENT'S RIGHTS!! Don't judge my parenting, we all raise our kids differently, it's none of your business anyway!!"
Despite using #sarcasm and #BodyIntegrity in her caption, many Facebook commenters didn't get that the photo was a satirical analogy about and against circumcision. Vance received a lot of angry messages questioning her parenting and threats of reporting her to child protective services. To those, she issues a follow-up post clarifying her intent and actually expressing gratitude for their outrage, because that's exactly how she thinks people should feel about cutting a baby's genitals.
"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," Vance said.
Many other Facebookers—as of this writing, Vance's post has about 13,000 likes and shares and 160 comments—found her post inspiring, however, and appreciated the attention she is bringing to the question of whether or not baby boys should be circumcised. Vance feels strongly that it is a primitive, outdated practice that has no place in our civilized society, and saw the 2012 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report on circumcision as a call to action.
While the AAP found that the health benefits of circumcision outweight the risks, those benefits aren't enough to recommend the practice for all newborn boys, it said. "There is no compelling reason to deny boys their legitimate right to make their own informed decision when they are old enough to do so," the report said.
What is your opinion on circumcision?