All kinds of ouch.

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63 Responses to All kinds of ouch.

  1. Marian says:

    And those of us who had pierced ears as babies try not to get offended.

  2. That’s the single thing I hate most that parents do to their children. Ugh. Way to treat your children like a fashion accessory.

  3. Dave K says:

    The diagram doesn’t mean ALL babies with pierced ears fall into all three or any of the other regions.

  4. Mike says:

    No one should poke holes in their kid for fun.

  5. Adrienne says:

    I’d say babies in Tommy Hilfiger is a better representation. Way too many people have their kid’s ears pierced for non materialistic reasons. I’m a case in point (and boy am I glad I didn’t have to get it done as an adult!).

    But TH? No getting around that one.

  6. Patrick says:

    This is the first one I’ve thought missed something important, which is that different cultures think differently about adornment. If you think parents get their kids ears pierced “for fun,” I think you’re wrong. I think “materialism” is probably wrong, as well.

    I say this as a straight white male who pierced his right ear in 1973.

    Love the site, btw. This is just feedback, not condemnation.

  7. Ax says:

    Dave K Says:
    The diagram doesn’t mean ALL babies with pierced ears fall into all three or any of the other regions.

    One of us doesn’t know how Venn diagrams work. I think it’s you.

  8. Chaz says:

    I think the only qualifier that could be missing would be “some”. All that this diagram says is that when those three forces are joined, you’ll find babies with pierced ears; it doesn’t make that classification unique to this chart or inclusive only of the requisite components represented.

    As an aside: ‘and boy am I glad I didn’t have to get it done as an adult’ — what? Clearly you haven’t actually seen what piercing is like these days. I had mine done with a straight needle, felt about the same as pinching the lobe gently with fingers. Certainly less painful than other piercing, or tattoos.

  9. Gerri says:

    I am visiting your blog for the first time today. I think it is witty and I plan to check it out more often.

    However, as an African-American female, I disagree with your Venn. In my family, ear piercing was for cultural beauty. My family was not materialistic, impoverished, or status seeking. My family thought a little girl with earrings made her look feminine and added to her beauty.

    Written to inspire knowledge and awareness. peace

  10. Carla says:

    “She couldn’t afford a car so she named her daughter a-Lexus”

  11. Isherwood says:

    Cultural values or not, all people should decide for themselves what holes to introduce to their flesh.

  12. Oddtwang says:

    Isherwood: True enough, but on the scale of things which are pushed onto kids about which they should be allowed to make up their own minds, earrings are pretty low on the list. Religion does tend to make the scale a bit tricky to read, though…

  13. Susanna K. says:

    I would’ve said “Crappy apartment building with a parking lot full of Lexus SUVs.” ‘Cause I lived in one of those for a while, and have seen many since then.

  14. spaniard says:

    I don’t know how it works in America, but here in Spain, almost every girl has their ears pierced when she’s months, regardless of cultural background, economic status… It works the opposite way though: if a girl reaches her first year without getting pierced, their parents are probably the kind to do it as a statement against consumerism, superficiality and whatnot.

  15. A says:

    I normally looove your site, but wow, really? Did you really say that? It’s more often a cultural thing. My great-grandmother pierced me and I’m sure as hell glad I had my ears done as a baby, especially since she died before I was 2. I had a single pair of earrings from the time I was pierced until I was 7. Not really sure what materialism you’re talking about, and you’ll never see me pissed at my parents that they pierced me without my approval.

    This diagram failed. Epically.

  16. Adrienne says:


    actually I had additional piercings in my ears after that as an adult. They all got hurt for WEEKS afterward. Not everyone goes through the simple “pinch” you had.

    Still, better to have it over and done with than have to sit through it as an adullt no?

  17. thejoyciecat says:

    Perhaps you need to travel outside your bubble… such as to the Philippines, Spain, Latin America, India… where it is the cultural norm to have babies with pierced ears. In the Philippines, they even get them done in the hospital as newborns, regardless of socio-economic status. You don’t need to travel out of the country to see this, go on a weekend trip to Miami and see for yourself.

    Anyway, what’s the “ouch” difference between baby girls with earrings and baby boys with circumcised penises? Where’s your diagram on that one?

  18. Tea says:

    I’m extremely happy that my mom pierced my ears as a baby. I love wearing earrings but wouldn’t have the courage to do it now. She didn’t do it for “fun” as some have put it, or as a status symbol or to be materialistic. So…I don’t agree with this at all.

    I do love your diagrams in general though.

  19. Christopher says:

    Better pierced ears than the aforementioned circumcised penis. I find it troubling how many (online) mothers (not fathers) are adamant about this procedure for aesthetic reasons alone.

  20. rai says:

    I’ve had my ears pierced since the age of 3 months, as a cultural tradition from my mother’s South American side. Incidentally, povert, desire for status, and materialism had nothing to do with that decision.

    While I enjoy most of Indexed, this one is just plain ignorant.

  21. Misty says:

    It’s hilarious how people will say, “oh, how funny! So true!” until the humor hits a little too close to home.

  22. a pierced girl says:

    I love Indexed but…
    I come from a wealthy, yes-a-little-materialistic, uninterested-in-status family, and had my ears pierced in the hospital for cultural reasons. It still appears weird to me to see little girls without earrings. Basically, with little children it was my only way to tell if they’re boys or girls.

  23. Jamie says:

    Let’s all get outraged over babies with pierced ears, and then get our little boys circumcised. Talk about cultural bias.

  24. Rery says:

    Like so many others have said on here, piercing a baby girl’s ears is a cultural thing. I’m Indian and many Indian people get their daughters’ ears pierced as a baby. If a girl doesn’t want her ears pierced, she can just let them close up. It’s not like circumcision which is permanent.

    My family did things a little differently in that they wanted it to be my choice. My grandmother did that for my mother, who got hers pierced when she was in grade school, but I decided not to. That was my choice. What’s funny though is how Indian girls having their ears pierced is so common that when another Indian girl my age noticed I don’t have them pierced, they’re shocked. About as shocked as many people are when they heard of people piercing their daughters’ ears at such a young age.

  25. Stripe says:

    Wow, this piercing thing has really hit a nerve! Way to rouse the rabble!

    Personally, I just bought a tattoo gun and gave my son a series of beautiful facial decorations that make him look just like a little puppy! It is SO ADORABLE! I just wish I could post his picture here…

    If you are going to pierce your kid’s ears, don’t mess around- give the little beast those Really Big bolt-sized holes so you can clip a leash through there when you walk it through the grocery store. And, as a favor to us all, teach it to heel.

  26. Longdong says:

    I don’t get it. Materialistic poor people pierce their babies’ ears as a status symbol?

    In my neighbourhood it’s the opposite. Poor people pretend they choose frugality in order to appear non-materialistic. All their babies are dressed in old potato sacks, and they adamantly deny that it’s to match the brown of their cardboard box homes. I’ve been on to them since the day they reused old stickers from the rich children’s homework found in the dumpster as stick-on earrings; they claim it’s just for fun, who do they think they’re kidding?

  27. Johnson says:

    You people should be ashamed of your materialistic cultures that promote poverty.

  28. Mabande says:

    At first I thought this venn was kinda nonsensical, but after reading your comments and thinking about a little it I’ve got a quick explanation (or, if I may, a grand unification theory ;) ):
    – Status: “being normal” or “sticking out from othe norm” (depending on wich culture).
    – Materialism: showing with jewelry how the baby relates to the aforementioned culture.
    – Poverty: a tricky one, but the ratio of poor people following tradition as to not lower their status, or defying tradition to elevate their status (depending on wether culture celebrates individualism / rebellious attitudes or not).

    However: the venn would be pretty much more on point if it was Tommy Hilfiger (as adrienne said) :P

  29. Ada says:

    I have to say I disagree with this one… it’s definitely a cultural thing; certainly not materialistic. In my culture, girls get their ears pierced when they’re babies, and I did too… when I moved to Canada, I was surprised that most girls in elementary school didn’t have their ears pierced like I did.

  30. Megan says:

    I wish I had gotten my ears pierced as a baby! I had to get mine pierced twice, once at 7 and once at 16 because the first time they got infected and closed up. The second time I got them pierced I passed out (it didn’t hurt at all I think it might have been the anticipation.)
    If my mother had just done it when I was a baby she could have handled a few minutes of crying and had it over with whereas I had to deal with smelling salts and waking up across from hot topic.

  31. James says:

    I grew up in the Midwest where ear-piercing is associated with adults…girls have to beg permission from their parents to pierce their ears and they’re not likely to get it until they’re (at least) in high school. My wife is from Mexico where pierced ears are the default condition for girls… routinely done at birth or shortly afterwards. It doesn’t seem to carry much meaning there like it did where I grew up.
    I can well imagine that, in other parts of the country, pierced ears might very well be associated with socioeconomic status. I think multiple piercings are so associated in many places…

  32. Sakimori says:

    I don’t see what the big difference is between piercing a baby’s ear and a having it circumcised; they are both equally negative. To irreversibly mutilate someone else’s body (be it the poking of holes or the removal of skin) without their consent is a clear violation of the most basic of human rights.

    Just to be clear: I’m not against pierced ears or circumcisions. I am against having the procedure done on those too young and helpless to say ”no, I don’t think I want to do that”.

  33. bryce says:

    i see no reason to get a child’s ears pierced before they request it.

    it frustrates me that this choice has been taken away from the child later in life.

    and to Addrienne i think that freedom of choice is a huge price to pay for a couple of weeks of discomfort, if yours hurt any more than this you should have spent more than 2 dollars on a dodgy alley with a needle OR followed the care instructions you paid for.

  34. Again, the circumcision debate.

    Personally, I find pierced ears on babies distracting from their pure and natural beauty. To ME it lends a trashy, cluttered look on any baby. So I don’t understand the practice. There is no therapeutic or protective value. It’s purely an aesthetic preference in some cultures, I infer.

    On the other hand, there are studies indicating that circumcision protects against sexually transmitted infection. That at least is something in addition to the aesthetic.

  35. It's spelt yoghurt says:

    There are no currently accepted studies indicating anything of the sort, “phd in yogurtry”. You’re one of many who buy into “commonly accepted wisdom” from the early 20th century in this respect. There are studies from the latter half of that century that indicated a negative correlation between circumcision and genital infections (of a non-sexual nature), but the correlation has been seen to decrease to negligibility in modern, affluent cultures, where both education and product availability in personal hygiene are common.

    So again, it’s a cultural thing. I think you’ll find the cultures where men aren’t getting infections from unclean foreskins anymore are the ones to which this diagram applies.

    Call me racist if you want, but I’m prepared to argue this point from a purely evidence based social and geographic point of view.

  36. Sarah says:

    Hey, I’m all for getting your ears pierced when you’re super young. I had mine done when I was two. They never got infected – perhaps because my mom was there to take care of me, so I couldn’t possibly be careless. I know a ton of kids who had them done as older children and had problems, probably because they weren’t following care instructions.

    Also – no matter when you’re getting pierced, make sure it’s done with by a professional, and with a clean needle. Earring guns have so many places where bacteria and dirt can hide, and they cause more trauma to the area being pierced.

  37. rob says:

    It’s so odd to see the people talking about how they are either happy that they had their ears pierced when they were very young, or wish they had.

    What an odd view of infancy and child development.

    Yes, you’re small, so you can be forced to endure things that it would be criminal to do to an adult against their will.

    Yes, you lose most of your early memories when you gain language. But it’s not like those things didn’t happen — your experience of life at these very young ages is far MORE important in molding your swiftly-developing brain than just about anything you can do to yourself as an adult — yes, even if your ear gets infected.

    Just because you don’t remember early trauma doesn’t mean it didn’t affect you, and isn’t STILL affecting you in some way or other.

  38. keppi says:

    i really didn’t get it!

  39. Casey says:

    It’s amazing what will catalyze a discussion. —a poignant INDEX.

  40. Sarah says:

    oooooh weeeee!!!

  41. Marc André says:

    Ax said (to Dave K) “One of us doesn’t know how Venn diagrams work. I think it’s you.” No, actually, it’s you.
    What the diagram says is that if you combine the three, what you get is babies with pierced ears; it does say that this is the only place where babies with pierced ears can be found.

  42. spaniard says:

    About It’s spelt yoghurt and circumcision, I thought it was one of those things that could have been necessary/useful in other times when there was not so much hygiene, and, like a lot of other customs, enforced by giving it a religious meaning. But i was surprised to read an article about it last week, where a recent study showed that circumcision lowered the chance of getting AIDS when having unprotected sex by as much as 40%. <–

    there you have the article.

  43. curious about culture says:

    I love this site!

    What I want to know is that so many people claim that ear piercing is ‘cultural’ – but do not explain it –

    Is there some deep religious meaning?
    Does the government force this upon children?
    Is it a symbolic gesture?

    My personal dislike of babies with pierced ears is probably just as culturally based as some of your comments complaining that this post is ignorant or insensitive.

  44. Steve says:

    “It’s a cultural thing.” Obviously this joke is relative to the cultural context in which it resides! In fact, it is quite pointedly a joke about a particular culture. Did anyone think that the jokes about the Easter Bunny, Halloween, Santa, or the Tooth Fairy were supposed to be culturally neutral?

    If you object to “All Kinds of Ouch” on grounds that piercing a baby’s ears means something different in India, Mexico, or on the moons of Jupiter, then you’ve entirely missed the point of the joke. Or, more likely, you’ve intentionally ignored the point of the joke in order to take exception to it.

  45. Julie says:

    Agree that in the ‘American culture’, ear piercing is usually for adults and that many times younger girls beg their parents to be allowed the ‘grownup pierced ears’.

    However, in the ‘Spanish or Latino culture’ ear piercing is such a normal part of a girls life, that it is rarely questioned. All Latino races, nationalities, and social-economic levels practice this as a normal part of a girl’s life.

    I thought nothing of it. In fact, it was our pediatrician in NJ who performed the ear piercing on my 3 month old baby girl. She barely cried, it was so quick. I, on the other hand, sobbed all the way home, much to my husband’s consternation! :-)

    So, the answer to your posting is that you are most likely correct except when otherwise practiced by certain cultures.

  46. Stripe says:

    I didn’t notice the mention of skin, fore or aft, in this diagram. Though I am kind of curious about why men feel so compelled to thrust their foreskin into everything.

    As for me, you can have my foreskin when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

  47. _sophie says:

    i just wonder how you come up with those smart (but funny) ideas :)

  48. Johnson says:

    When are we going to see the venn diagram about all those sickos who neuter their dogs rather than keep them on a leash.

  49. Hemant says:

    Don’t agree with your thought. It’s part of the tradition in India to pierce the ears. It has nothing to do with poverty, richness or status symbol.

  50. fonis says:

    sound != complete

    everyone of you bringing up culture and what not apparently do not get this.

  51. taradash says:

    I will try not to be offended. but usually when someone makes a comment like this they are talking about minorities (Hispanics). Maybe now everyone gets their ears pierced but my generation (1958) only “Spics” as the the cruel young kids would say to me, wear earings since birth.

    like i said I wont take offense, but it brings up an old Broadway show tune….


  52. taradash says:

    Oh and most recently Alec Baldwin on “30 Rock” had an episode when his Hispanic girlfriend (Selma Hiyak)invited him to a family pinic how they handed him a baby with pierced ears.. hilarious

    none of this really matters anymore.

  53. Lynns Daughter says:

    Those of you complaining that this is a cultural thing – aren’t you admitting that getting babies ears pierced in your culture is a status symbol?

  54. Mabande says:

    @Lynne: Exactly!
    However, I think the major beef is with the “poverty”-circle. ‘Cause if it was just the status and materialism I think it’d be only a fraction of negative comments – quite understandably nobody wants to be associated with being poor…

    @Marc André: both yes and no. It says that if you study the phenonmenon of babies with pierced ears as related to the three factors poverty, materialism and desire for status youäll only find them at the intersection, but it doesnät say that there cant be any babypercing going on if you choose other factors to study by (for instance traditionalism, status and materialism, just to get the exact same result).

  55. Jamie says:

    “quite understandably nobody wants to be associated with being poor”

    I think the bigger problem is the assumption that wealth equals superiority.

  56. Nat says:

    I don’t think it has anything to do with materialism. I had my ears pierced at 2 months. My mom’s reasoning was that eventually I’d want pierced ears (just like most women have), so why not do it when I was too young to remember the discomfort of it. I also grew up in a middle-class home that put emphasis on the wealth of a loving family more than on consumer goods, brand-new cars or luxury items.

    It’s a cultural norm for women to have pierced ears, so why the uproar over a child with earrings in?. It’s no more materialistic than having a baby necklace or bracelet as a lot of babies have for portraits and the like.

  57. Batmanhebreo says:

    I am from South America. I think having your baby’s ear pierced is slightly materialistic. I don’t know if that’s wrong and i do know it’s rather part of our culture, and, you know, maybe we have a materialistic feature in our culture. I don’t think that’s right or wrong either.

  58. Sabrina says:

    I always thought piercing babies ears had more to do with making sure everybody knows it’s a girl than anything else…

  59. sleepisfortheweek says:

    My daughters don’t get their ears pierced until they are old enough to ask for it and after I explain to them that it’s going to hurt and they will have to take care of them.

    My son isn’t circumsized. If he wants that done, he can elect to do that later in life when it is up to him. I saw no reason to do something to him electively so that he could look like his peers in the locker room.

    Interesting statitistic is that circumsizing of boys is now about 50% depending on the area you live in…

  60. Sassy says:

    If any of you really want to prove this wrong, simply describe an example of a poor, materialistic mother with a desire for status who you know DIDN’T pierce her daughter’s ears. Anyone?

  61. Sienna says:

    Sassy is right.

    I love this card. It doesn’t say ALL babies with pierced ears. It says that when you combine poverty with materialism and desire for status you get babies with pierced ears. But plenty have them pierced for other reasons.

    Stop criticizing this blog, guys. It’s brilliant. And it’s not talking about YOU personally.

  62. Sienna says:

    Lynn’s daughter is right too :)

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