Saturday, September 24, 2011


While I had awful insomnia last night, I sat down and had and  was reading one of The Pervocracy's old posts ("Ooh Baby") which brought to mind my views on the issue of consent in children.

In the post linked to above, Holly talks about a baby that she saw in the grocery store and her mother had put makeup on her and pierced her ears.  Holly was fairly taken aback and quite frankly it's just something I have never and (most likely) will never understand.

Not only is this mother sexualizing her less-than-a-year-old child (which is bad enough on it's own), but the parent is making an assumption about their child and placing assumptions about who that child should be, long before that child starts to think about who they are.  Maybe it's just a touchy subject for me, I didn't pierce my ears till a month ago (after much deliberation), but maybe that child will grow up and wish their ears hadn't been pierced.  Maybe that child will grow up and wish that they had be the one to decide they wanted their ears pierced.

Yes, getting your ears pierced is a fairly minor thing, but it is being done to your body, not someone else's and, ultimately I think it is you (used in a general sense) that should decide whether you want to inflict harm (however minor) on yourself.  I believe that yes, even children should have this right.

And for me, it's about so much more than just mere ear piercing.  People so rarely ask children's thoughts, feelings, or permission for anything.  And in regard to ear piercing, where does making decisions for your children without even talking to them end?

What about intersex infants, those born with "ambiguous genitalia"?  Should the parents make a decision about their child's genitalia at birth, within the first 48 hours of their child's birth, as doctors so often recommend? [1] I will obviously argue against this practice and yet is far more common than many people suspect.  Why not let the child grow up a few years and as they grow explain to them what is different about their body, explain how it is different than "normal".  Then after the parents have done this, explain to them the options and fucking ask their child what they think about their body.

The arguments I have heard against this range from: but they won't grow up normally to (the more rational) but they will be teased.  In the face of the first argument my response is: so what? Normal is overrated and I would much prefer my child to grow up an individual who understands themselves.  To the second argument I would say: if the parents explain to their child that teasing is a possibility and explain why other people might laugh and mock, but assure their child that they should be free to be themselves, then teasing shouldn't be the biggest issue in the world.  People so often underestimate children's understanding of situations and I understand the urge to want to protect them from all teasing but ultimately I think a bit of teasing is worth the heartache/break later in life from potentially assigning a child at birth what the child considers the wrong sex.

I'm sorry for the excessively long post (I am naturally a very verbose person).  This is something I feel passionately about and something that always bothered me growing up.  I just wanted to be asked my opinion, children are people and the ageism built into most cultures is something that bothers me more than most things.

[1] This is an article through the Intersex Society of North America which discusses what intersex is and how it is often handled. Dominant treatment protocals is particularly relevant to what I discuss above.

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