I got caught in the middle of an almighty row this afternoon. It was over Gisele Bundchen, of all things. More precisely Gisele's baby daughter's ears and a photo posted on Instagram that showed they were ... pierced.
It was on for young and old when I met some mums for coffee. One started saying how wrong it was, not realising the other had pierced her 18-month-old's ears. Not surprisingly, things got really heated really quickly.
I bit my tongue, but I have to admit I’m always taken aback when I see mothers pushing baby girls or toddlers in prams and they have their ears pierced. To me it looks a bit like a baby wearing tiny high-heels. Or lipstick. Or hair extensions. And unlike high heels or lipstick, having a piercing hurts. It hurts a lot.
Toddler-piercing mum is Brazilian - like Gisele - and she said it's traditional in her country. Apparently most South American girl bubs leave the hospital with their ears already pierced. She found it really weird giving birth in Australia and having to find a salon so it could be done.
The other mum was totally horrified. She said doing something that causes a baby pain for superficial reasons was "just wrong."
And that's when things got ugly, because toddler-piercing mum turned and snapped: "You got your son circumcised. At least a piercing will close up if my daughter decides to take it out later in life. A circumcision is forever.”
Circumcision mum's eyes got all glittery - she'd obviously done a lot of research before getting her baby snipped. She started going on about how lots of studies show there’s a lower rate of transmission of STIs including HIV when a man is circumcised. And that uncircumcised boys had a higher risk of infections. She even mentioned a friend's son who ripped his foreskin during sex when he was 19 and had to have an adult circumcision, which is a far more major surgery than when you’re a baby.