Mexican/Latino taboo about not piercing baby girls ears? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 04-07-2008, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My family is from Mexico (siblings born there, and I was born in the U.S.), and is accustomed to having the baby girls ears pierced soon after being born. Does anyone know what the thinking behind this is? I asked my Mom, and she basically takes it as something that is inevitable and has to be done because she is a girl, and that's that.

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!)

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".

I'd like to know if anyone has anymore reasoning or insight to this cultural practice?

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#2 of 22 Old 04-07-2008, 09:56 PM
 
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My husbands is from Puerto Rico and the thinking is the same. We are the first in his entire family to not pierce the little ones ears. He was fine with it but his family had a tough time and still will bring it up from time to time. I am not sure of the reasoning but I just thought I would let you know you aren't alone.

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#3 of 22 Old 04-07-2008, 10:16 PM
 
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I don't understand how they can call you names when they don't understand the tradition themselves. Traditions are supposed to have significance, hence the reason they are practiced, so if no one in your family knows why it is done then is it really a tradition? I don't know the answer to your origional question.
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#4 of 22 Old 04-07-2008, 10:48 PM
 
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Mama, I'm going to move you over to our Multicultural Parenting forum.

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#5 of 22 Old 04-07-2008, 11:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I have to say there seems to be no reasoning behind the ear piercing. The idea of doing it so that you can tell the baby is a girl is just not good enough for me. I wish there was more info though I'm just really curios, especially since it seems to be such taboo amongst Latinos!

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#6 of 22 Old 04-08-2008, 12:06 AM
 
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I am Indonesian and it's the same way in my culture. I wasn't pierced as a baby because my parents didn't want to hurt me (I was a preemie). They said they would do it, but never did. My family (aunts. etc) was kinda angry at my parents. They bought me tons of gold earings so my parents would pierce my ears, but by then I was an active squirmy toddler, so it'd be hard to pierce my ears.
Anyway, when I was older (I lived in Indonesia), like 6 or so, I noticed that my friends ears were pierced, and I wanted to have my ears pierced, my dad didn't let me have it, but my mom did, so I got it, and I was wearing earings... for a couple of months, then I got sick of it, and stopped wearing it, and I didn't care when ppl said I wasn't a "real girl" or something like that. Thankfuly, the holes are closed (a couple of years later maybe)
Anyway, now I am in the US and I didn't pierce my dd's ears. My parents (of course) supported me and didn't give me a hard time about not doing it.
As far as I know, the only significance is pierced ears = girl, nothing else, really....
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#7 of 22 Old 04-08-2008, 11:41 AM
 
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DD is latina (PR and Dominican predomiantely) and we did not pierce. Mainly fellow latino strangers made comments and were apalled. Time past-she is 11 and still doesn't want them pierced.

It does seem to be "just what you do".
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#8 of 22 Old 04-08-2008, 12:32 PM
 
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Yeah, it's just what you do. I have heard 2 reasons for it: 1) so you know she's a girl and 2) she'll want it some day anyway, and this way you do it for her so she won't remember how much it hurts. My DH was all for doing it, and I told him I'd rather wait until she was old enough to choose it for herself. His reply was that we will make a LOT of decisions that are way, way more important and life-altering than pierced ears, and I had to agree with that.

But we haven't pierced 'em, and DD's almost 2; not sure if we will or not. I admit my position on this has softened quite a bit; but we survived the post-birth family harassment, plus I really just don't want to deal with sore ears on a toddler and portable choking hazards.

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#9 of 22 Old 04-08-2008, 12:43 PM
 
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Dh's family is latino. After 2 boys we're having a girl. It's not just earrings, its the frilly expectations of girls altogether that's hard for me. I was such a free-to-be-you-and-me kid, in my overalls an my short short hair in the 70s. Not only do I think earrings should be a personal choice (in the teenage years) but I think they are a choking hazard for toddlers. I also kind of cringe when I see dresses on babies (sorry, just my personal thing) and I'm not a big fan of pink. In truth I'm just not a big fan of gendering children.

My boys wear plaid flannel pants and plain long sleeve tees in lots of colors with cardigans most of the time, so no camo, or sports stuff, or drab olives oranges and navey here either.

I'm wondering about the degree of latitude I can give to my inlaws, wanting them to enjoy the baby as a girl and not to be insensitive while at the same time really wanting to stick by my own convictions about allowing my children's gender exploration without imposing any excessive gendering on them.
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#10 of 22 Old 04-08-2008, 03:41 PM
 
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My exSO's family (African-American) were surprised when I didn't get my dd's ears pierced as well. I think it is a cultural thing. She is 4 now and still has not gotten her ears pierced. That being said if I have another girl I think I would. :

Mom of 3 sons and one daughter
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#11 of 22 Old 04-14-2008, 12:36 PM
 
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My dad, (dd's pop-pop) is Colombian, and he definitely gave me a hard time about not piercing dd's ears-though, more in a teasing way than anything, although he really wanted me to do it! He just said it was a tradition and that way she wouldn't remember the pain. I think we'll wait till she's much much older!

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#12 of 22 Old 04-20-2008, 01:46 PM
 
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My foster daughter is half-latino and has pierced ears. Now that she's fourteen months, I FINALLY don't feel like apologizing to everyone when they mention her pierced ears. That being said, the only earrings she has are the ones she came to me with and I never take them out. I probably should but I doubt she'd stay still and it makes me kind of squeamish.
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#13 of 22 Old 04-21-2008, 12:27 PM
 
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The tradition of piercing infant girls' ears here (Czech Republic) isn't as strong as in the cultures the PP have stated, but it's definitely "done" here too. Lots of parents have their baby girls' ears pierced at 3 months of age and every ped's office offers it. My SIL doesn't have her ears pierced and neither does my MIL, so the tradition of women and earrings never really took off on DH's side of the family, and I think the parents who choose to do it are probably not all that pressured by their families, but many people still choose to do it. And the old tradition was, that the earrings that are put in are sealed, so they have to be broken off to be taken out.
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#14 of 22 Old 04-21-2008, 02:29 PM
 
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Whatever reason behind it, if you don't like it: There is no law you must pierce your child's ears. People will always gossip, there is nothing we can do about it.
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#15 of 22 Old 04-24-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PapayaMom View Post
My husbands is from Puerto Rico and the thinking is the same. We are the first in his entire family to not pierce the little ones ears. He was fine with it but his family had a tough time and still will bring it up from time to time. I am not sure of the reasoning but I just thought I would let you know you aren't alone.
: My Dh's family is Puerto Rican and it really was taken as an affront that we didn't get our daughters' ears pierced when they were babies. It was definitely seen as a "white girl" thing on my part, and I think they feel like Dh is just humoring me.

It wasn't the first or the last bochinche around me and our family's choices... they like me, but they don't understand me.

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#16 of 22 Old 04-30-2008, 01:05 AM
 
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My husband and I are Puerto Rican and his family was very surprised that DD (and I) have unpierced ears. My family wasn't shocked since for us it's a relgious thing.

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#17 of 22 Old 05-06-2008, 11:15 AM
 
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Very interesting topic and forum. I haven't stopped in here until today. My son is Brazilian/American and now I am expecting a little girl. My Inlaws always pierce the babies ears and I also don't know why. I used to think it was cute when I was pregnant with ds (albeit dangerous, my nieces earings are always falling out). But I hadn't even remembered piercing now that I am pregnant with a girl. Now I am thinking I stood up and didn't get pressured into circ my little boy (my side was really pushing circ and my husband was against it -they don't really do much circ in Brasil). Why should I put my daughter through unneeded pain and discomfort? She can have it done if and when she wants to. I was 4 when I asked to be pierced and I never question why my mom didn't do it to me as a baby. I like that it was my decision. Well for now that is my thought process.
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#18 of 22 Old 05-07-2008, 12:29 PM
 
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I am Latina. I had my ears pierced when I was a couple days old.

I pierced dd's ears when she was 9 weeks. Why? Tradition, I suppose. No one pressured me to do it, no one asked me to do it.

Maybe it has something to do with the traditions and respect for certain jewelry that my mom instilled in me and my sister. Hard to explain, because it sounds like some of pps are making associations like earrings, pink, girly, stereotypical gendering: that somehow it forms a whole package designed to gender code—and therefore limit—girls and women.

That "package" does not accurately portray my experience growing up, and I don't expect it will characterize my daughter's either, just because she has pierced ears.

I respect that the "tradition" has no meaning for many Latina/os, but for me it did.
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#19 of 22 Old 05-13-2008, 12:14 PM
 
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My daughter's father is from Cuba and we did
get her ears pierced when she was a baby, I believe
at three months although many people asked why we waited
so long.

However, she did pull them out so we are waiting
until she is a little older before putting the earrings back
in.

Hope
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#20 of 22 Old 05-13-2008, 12:51 PM
 
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my family is Cuban and we have two dd's. One by birth one by adoption.

My birth dd has her ears pierced and they were done at 2 weeks old. Honestly we didnt even think twice about it... its just what you do, kwim? Our younger dd was adopted and was not finalized until her 1st birthday. By that point I didnt feel comfortable piercing her ears... she can get them done if she asks.

Not having done it right away made me really think on it more though. Funny enough, my older dd looks very 'white' and the younger one very hispanic... so it seems to be the opposite in terms of culture.

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#21 of 22 Old 05-14-2008, 08:55 AM
 
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We just had our first daughter after two boys. DH is Egyptian, and we've gotten tons of gold earrings for her already. It is expected that we pierce her ears, but we haven't yet. DH says that even the poorest people pierce their daughters ears, and will just keep thread in them until they can afford earrings.

Personally, I got my ears pierced around 12 (right before my first concert... the Go-Go's/Flock of Seagulls ). I sort of liked how it was a special treat to go to the mall and get my ears pierced with my friends.

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#22 of 22 Old 05-14-2008, 02:08 PM
 
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Interesting topic. My husband's father is from Mexico. My husband is actually a first generation citizen on his dad's side. My sister in law had her daughter's ear's pierced before she was 2 months old and my husband's aunt is planning to have her daughter's pierced soon (she is 3 months old now). His family still asks me when we're going to have our daughter's ears peirced (she is 2 1/2). I've always found it odd the way they put it, "WHEN are you gonna get her ears pierced!?". They say it like it's so crazy we haven't yet. My husband assumed she would be getting them done early but, I convinced him otherwise.

I have a metal allergy and my ears (pierced when I was 16) took nearly a year to stop bleeding and being infected. I used every non allergy metal I could get my hands on but, even with all the antibacterial and healing agents as daily ritual they still did not heal properly. My ears have scar tissue in them for that reason. I had them pieced (second hole in each ear) when the first finally healed. I have since lost one of those because I went a week or so at some point without putting anything in it.

I tell everyone my daughter can choose to get her ears pierced (if SHE wants and we deem her responsible enough) when she is old enough to deal with the infections and daily pain. Perhaps I'll think about it when she is in middle school, if indeed she wants them. If she has the same problem that I do with piercings I don't want her to be miserable as a small child. Babies and children tend to rub, scratch, and pull at irratation.

Odd. Not sure where that tradition came from or if it is limited to Spanish and South American decent.

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