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02.23.08

Piercing gives insight into stereotypes

Posted in Piercing News at 6:51 am by admin

He said to take a deep breath.

I closed my eyes.

The needle went through, and then a series of painful tugs. Then, that was it. It was over.

So maybe I won’t be able to donate blood plasma for a year – I can live with that.

What’s a little more devastating is the six-week no-kissing rule. Way to put a damper on my social life.

Despite the $60 and what felt like hours of nervous anticipation and clammy hands, I don’t regret putting a hole in my lip.

It’s something I have wanted for a long time.

I somewhat prepared myself for the pain by pinching my lip while I sat in the piercing chair. But I wish I had taken the time to be better prepared for the backlash I would get afterward.

I had expected family members to be a bit judgmental, and I knew my friends would be shocked. I have been known to be the exact opposite of spontaneous.

However, I did not expect words such as “trashy” and “ugly” and a facial expression that I can only describe as one made when smelling rotten flesh.

When I attended the Miss UF Pageant Monday night, a woman asked if the seats next to me were saved. I politely informed her that they were.

She took one look at my lip, saw the fact that my hair was about 12 shades darker than everyone else’s and made a remark to her friend. She then pointed at my piercing, made a noise that sounding like she was choking on a hair ball and walked away.

What was that about? I tried to ignore the rude response, but I admit it bothered me. Later that night, I put my confusion and frustration to good use.

I did research and discovered that about half of people in their 20s have either a tattoo or a body piercing other than earrings, according to a 2006 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

I imagine that number has increased since then.

As the trend becomes more accepted in today’s culture, it amazes me that I feel like the victim of a widely held stereotype.

In some African cultures, lip piercings in women signify beauty. For ancient Mayan and Aztec men, the labret piercing meant they were of higher class.

Why in modern American culture do we feel it’s appropriate to deem the pierced as “gothic” or “just looking for attention?”

I have yet to tell my mom about my new stab, but I can foresee her reaction: “You’d better take that out before you start looking for jobs!”

It’s not like I tattooed my forehead.

But that’s not even the point. In recent years, employers have become increasingly lenient with their dress codes.

I worked at a restaurant in 2002 and saw a hostess get fired for refusing to remove her industrial piercing – the one that extends across the top of the ear cartilage. At that same restaurant today, at least four of the employees have facial piercings and a good handful have visible tattoos.

But I know there will always be those bosses who make a snap judgment and let it define who I am.

What I want to know is: How does a tiny stud in my bottom lip make me any less qualified to be a good writer or a hard worker? I could be 10 times smarter than the girl with the pink, cable, v-neck cardigan and pearl earrings.

Then again, she could be a genius.

This only proves my point – what we wear and how we express ourselves should not be the basis for what we have to offer.

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1 Comment »

  1. jonathan said,

    March 12, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    HAHA u got told no kissin for six week
    i got told no kissin for 2 week which i ignored nd the pain was immense
    but i got snakebites so it hurt twice as much

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