“What, you want another hole in your head??”
Even reading it, the phrase screams ‘things-moms-say’. Lucky for me, my mom never really had an issue with my love of piercings. She even signed off for some of my piercings when I was under 18. Though she didn’t understand why I was so obsessed with piercings, my mom was supportive. She even ended up being a fan of some of my larger, less-traditional piercings! Thus wanting ‘another hole in my head’ was always said in the most loving and teasing of ways.
The phrasing of this motherly joking, however, does remind me exactly what a piercing is: a hole, a relatively big one too. A puncture wound that goes straight through all your skin, cartilage, etc. That’s pretty metal (pardon the pun).
Yet I’ve never really thought of getting a piercing as being more risky than getting a tattoo – tattoos usually get much worse rep.
As this article by The Sieve explains, piercings take much longer to heal than tattoos. Because of this, piercings carry a greater and more prolonged risk of infection. Though tattoos involve getting numerous tiny holes poked into your skin, your skin heals over the design very quickly and excess ink usually leaks out within two weeks! That’s a much shorter recovery time.
The article continues on and points out that both piercings and tattoos are stigmatized much more than necessary. If done in a clean, sterile, and professional working environment, and if you take care of your piecing/tattoo while it’s healing, there is little to no risk of complications.
So if the medical community gives the a-okay to SMART body modification choices, why is there such a strong, persistent social stigma against piercings and tattoos?