'I own her’

Mom posts photo of baby daughter with ‘pierced’ cheek on Facebook, death threats ensue

Enedina Vance (Facebook)

Long-time advocate against piercing and circumcising children, Ohio mother Enedina Vance felt no one was taking her message seriously and decided to reevaluate her strategy in communicating it. So, on June 28, Vance took a photo of her 6-month-old daughter and edited it to make it appear as though she’d had the dimple on her baby girl’s cheek pierced. She accompanied the doctored photo with a message that read, “I make all of her decisions until she’s 18, I made her, I own her!!” The internet, predictably, lost its mind.

As of July 6, Vance’s photo had been shared more than 13,000 times and provoked a veritable tsunami of responses from parents across the country who thought that the image depicted a real pierced cheek. While the post was meant to spark a conversation about children’s rights to their own bodies, what Vance didn’t expect was the onslaught of hate mail and even death threats that were lobbed at her from across the country. “I seriously can not believe how many people missed that this was purely satirical, I actually used the hashtag #sarcasm,” Vance wrote on Facebook in response to the deluge of angry posts. “Yet people were still threatening to beat me to death, call child protective services, & take away my children.”

While other responses to the post were more benign — mainly from women who said they too had had their ears pierced as a child and were none the worse for the experience — Vance maintains that that was never the point she was trying to make. The issue for her remains a child’s right to choose for themselves whether or not their bodies are modified when they’re old enough to understand the implications of such a decision. “No one has the right to alter, modify, or mutilate another human being’s body for aesthetic purposes, not even parents,” Vance argued, “What 1-week-old is asking to have earrings?” she wondered. “Just because it looks cute, just because it looks better — that’s not a good enough reason.”

Read the full story at CNN.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is independent of and separate from any views of The New York Times.

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