Petition Against Claire’s Accessories

This is a petition I started against Claire’s Accessories, a chain store in the US. They do piercings there.
Now piercing guns are filthy pieces of machinery that cannot be properly sanitized. They cannot be taken apart for proper cleaning, and wiping them with alcohol does not kill blood pathogens. They pierce with the jewelry itself with blunt force. Since the jewelry is solid, it “rips” the skin essentially and slams the backing on in a manner that creates a greater amount of bacteria, increasing the chance for infections.

That aside, they pierce babies. I mean, infant babies. The age of which can’t walk or talk yet. This makes me shake with fury. Babies can’t consent to this. They don’t know what’s happening, they didn’t agree to it, they just know it really hurts. To me, this is abuse. There is no absolute necessity to inflict this kind of thing on a baby.

This evening, my fiance and I passed by one of the stores owned by the same company as Claire’s, and heard an earsplitting screaming noise coming from inside. There were two parents having their infant pierced and it was screaming so much it’s face was turning red. The father was just standing there with a smile on his face. It infuriated me.

This petition is to make Claire’s change their policy and stop piercing infants. If you disagree, don’t sign it. Plain and simple. But if you agree, I would appreciate it if you sign.

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    Signed and left this comment:

    Also an ink & piercing fan here, but 1)it should be done sanitarily, and 2)it should be done to someone old enough to express their own CHOICE to get piercings, which an infant is not.

  • http://feministing.com/members/angelh/ Angel H.

    You’re talking about a cultural issue, so it’s going to take a lot more than a petition to stop people from piercing babies’ ears. All of the women in my family have had their ears pierced as infants. It’s almost seeen as a right of passage into girlhood. Some babies cry, some don’t. And when you’re so young, you don’t remember the pain.

    • http://feministing.com/members/veronicacharl10/ Veronica

      I have never considered “they won’t remember it” as a viable excuse to inflict uneccessary pain on an infant, especially with something like this. A baby doesn’t need earrings. Earrings are something that a person can go their whole life without. It’s not a neccessity.

      And I also don’t consider it a decent way for people to tell the infant is female.

      That aside, piercing guns themselves are filthy. They cannot be sanitized, they use blunt force to pierce with dull jewelry, which causes trauma to the tissue. The earring backing gets slammed on to the ear, which doesn’t allow the piercing to breathe, so it is more likely to develop and infection. Since the guns cannot be sanitized and come into contact with body fluids, especially blood, they are more likely to result in cross-contamination and spreading of blood-pathogens, such as hepititus.

      So what if an infant gets pierced with a gun that’s come into contact with a person that had HIV or hepititus? Well, they’ve probably been infected with it by something they didn’t even ask for.

      So if I can’t stop people from piercing their babies, I can at least spread awareness about how terrible piercing guns are.

      • http://feministing.com/members/angelh/ Angel H.

        It’s good that you want to spread awareness about the piercing guns. But whether or not *you* think a parent’s reasons are “viable” or “decent” doesn’t matter. Like I said, it’s cultural. And if you want to reach the parents, the wrong way to go about it is “your reasons aren’t good enough because I said so.”

        • http://feministing.com/members/veronicacharl10/ Veronica

          How would you suggest I reach parents? Because honestly, none of them have really explained to me why their babies need earrings other than “so people can tell they are girls” or “they won’t remember it later.”

          When it comes to inflicting pain on an infant, there are things like vaccinations, which have at least a medical purpose and a necessity. Earrings, piercings in general, are not a necessity.

          And if a parent is going to insist on piercing their baby, they should at least go to someone whom is actually a professional and not a chain store teenager who trained for two weeks on a teddy bear with a machine that is not sanitary. They should know the real risks involved. The risk of infecting their child with an incurable disease is a big risk, which is extremely high with a piercing gun.

          • http://feministing.com/members/angelh/ Angel H.

            The first thing I would suggest is to learn why they pierce their ears in the first place, and try to to understand their point of view. Otherwise, you’re going to come across as paternalistic.

            I hope I’m not coming across as antagonistic. Like I said earlier, this is a tradition that has been part of my family for several generations. Aside from some vague notion of a right of passage, I’m not sure why we do it and how far back it goes. And as for me, I see no strong reason either way as to whether this tradition should be continued or not.

          • http://feministing.com/members/veronicacharl10/ Veronica

            Well, as far as reasons for not doing it, I can post here some practical things. This is a list of ethics from a book called The Piercing Bible. It’s written by the woman who owned the US’s first piercing shop, Elayne Angel. She’s done over 40,000 piercings, has 40 of her own, has been a professional piercer for over 20 years, and has been a head board member of the Association of Professional Piercer for three years now. She pioneered tongue-piercing into the mainstream. She is the very best of the best and most expert there is in the piercing industry. Her views on infant and child piercing from her book:

            I perform piercings only on individuals who specifically consent to the act and agree to comply with maintenance procedures during healing. Obviously, that includes declining to pierce babies or toddlers who are too young to grasp the situation-and all animals, of course.

            Also, she offers a list of practical information to consider when it comes to piercing youngsters.

            -The risk of infection is high if your child is not old enough to refrain from touching the piercings, either because they are too young to understand the instructions or does not yet have the self-discipline

            -A piercing positioned at the center of your baby’s earlobes sometimes ends up being too low or too close to their face when they’ve grown.

            -Established earlobe piercings seldom close completely. And they do leave a permanent mark (however small) if abandoned later.

            -Doctors blame the rise in nickel allergy on the popularity of ear-piercing done with inferior quality jewelry. Once they’ve developed, these allergies may be severe and lifelong.

            She also has the Association of Professional Piercers “Piercee Bill of Rights” listed in the back of the book. (Parenthesis mine on the ones Claire’s and other chains violate.)

            Every person being pierced has the right:

            1) To be pierced in a hygienic environment by a clean, conscientious, sober piercer wearing a fresh pair of disposable medical examination gloves. (Claires violates this because they do not maintain APP standards of clean environment.)

            2) To be pierced with a brand-new, completely sterilized, single-use needle that is immediately disposed of in a medical sharps container after use on one piercing.
            (Claire’s also violates this as they do not use needles and the same equipment is used on all piercees.)

            3) To be touched only with freshly sterilized and appropriate implements, properly used and disposed of, or re-sterilized (where appropriate) in an autoclave prior to use on anyone else.
            (Claire’s violates this as well because their guns cannot be sterilized because they are made of a material that would warp and melt in an autoclave.)

            4) To know that piercing guns are never appropriate, and are often dangerous when used on anything-including earlobes.
            (Claire’s violates this in their usage of dangerous and unsanitary piercing guns.)

            5) To peace of mind that comes from knowing their piercer knows and practices the very highest standards of sterilization and hygiene.
            (Claire’s employees do not meet industry standards in the areas of sterilization, hygiene, or training. These people literally do not know what they are doing.)

            6) To have a knowledgeable piercer evaluate and discuss appropriate piercings and jewelry for his/her individual anatomy and lifestyle.
            (Claire’s violates this because they pierce with substandard materials and use sterling silver to pierce. Sterling silver is not good for new, or healing, piercings as it can tarnish, and cause infection.)

            7) To be fully informed of all risks and possible complications involved in his/her piercing choice before making any decisions.
            (It is fully impossible for a Claire’s employee to fully inform a piercee of all risks involved because they are not taught all risks, they are not trained properly, and they use dangerous implements.)

            8) To seek and receive a second opinion either from another piercer within the studio or from another studio.
            (A piercee has the ability to do this on their own, but asking a second opinion from other Claire’s employees, or other chains that use guns, will not give them fully-informed second opinions.)

            9) To have initial piercings fitted with jewelry of appropriate size, material, design, and construction to best promote healing. Gold-plated, gold-filled, or sterling silver jewelry is never appropriate for any new, or unhealed piercing.
            (Claire’s not only uses all of those materials, the jewelry itself is used to pierce the skin with blunt force.)

            10) To see pictures, to be given a tour of the piercing studio, and to have all questions fully and politely answered before making or following through on any decision.
            (I’m sure piercees at Claire’s are able to ask questions and walk around the store, given that it is not a real piercing studio, but employees trained with false information can only give false information.)

            11) To be fully informed about proper aftercare, both verbally and in writing, and to have continuing access to the piercer for assistance throughout the healing process.
            (Even the aftercare information is incorrect. Employees advise piercees to move the jewelry around during the healing process, which only facilitates the growth of more bacteria.)

            12) To be treated with respect, sensitivity, and knowledge regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, ethnicity, ability, health status, or piercing choice.
            (I cannot speak for Claire’s policies on these things. I would hope that their policy is to treat people with respect regardless of any of the listed things. That still does not make them a good place to go for body modification.)

            13) To change his/her mind, halt the procedure, and leave at any point if the situation seems uncomfortable or improper.
            (The act of using a piercing gun itself is improper.)

            Infants are not given the benefit of numbers 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, and 13, given that they are not giving consent to the procedure and cannot comprehend the situation and everything it entails. Piercing an infant at Claire’s (or any other place that uses a gun) deprives them of numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9 as well.

            This is why I feel the way I do about piercing infants. Were I to be a professional piercer (which I would like to be. Working on it.) I would not pierce infants same as this woman. I would also advise parents to avoid piercing guns and any place that uses them.