It's fairly regularly said that young people shouldn't get pierced because “their bodies are still growing”. I think I've even said that at times… But let's be honest — that's a politically correct lie that serves to further our cultural notions of adulthood, not any medical truth.

Let's step through a few common piercings that younger people want, and assess what changes that part of the body goes through from early/mid teens to adulthood (note: I'm not talking about babies and pre-pubescent children, as their bodies are obviously going through dramatic changes):

  • Ears – It would be ludicrous to suggest that there is any significant anatomical change in ears over time.
  • Tongue – There are obviously no physical changes in tongue anatomy from young teen to adult.
  • Eyebrow – Given that your eyebrows don't shift all over your face, why would a piercing?
  • Lip/Labret – Again, one can't seriously propose that there are physical changes so dramatic so as to make a piercing change? I don't know about you, but my lips are the same as they were when I was a kid.
  • Nostril/Septum – It's not going to make a damn bit of difference how young they are.
  • Navel – My navel is in the same spot as it was when I was a kid. More seriously though, any physical changes in the navel from young teen to adult are no more extreme than normal weight fluctuations in an adult.
  • Nipple – OK, here I agree. Especially for female nipples, until the changes of puberty are complete, nipples or their development could be damaged by piercing. As far as when that is, it's going to vary from person to person — in general that's probably between 13 and 17 years of age.

Now… I think a more important thing to address is whether a person is intellectually and emotionally mature enough to handle a piercing. Judging by the experiences on BME, immature people come in all ages, and it's not uncommon to see a fifteen year old that's far more able to handle their piercing than some twenty-five year old. More important questions that body growth include:

  • Is the person able to commit to taking care of the piercing? Some piercings, such as navels, are not that easy to heal, and it is a serious commitment and shouldn't be taken lightly.
  • Does the person understand the social implications of their piercing, and are they mature enough to accept those consequences?
  • If the piercing is of a sexual nature (nipples and perhaps tongue piercings), is the person emotionally mature enough to handle it, or will it help send them down a bad path?

Anyway, young people aren't stupid. So let's try not to make up lies to keep them from getting pierced!

And now, I want to say something to the young people reading this as well… I was pierced when I was young, and it turned out well for me. But if you want to get pierced, you have a responsibility to do your research and be responsible. If you act like an ass, you're going to mess it up for other young people. If you act like “an adult”, then maybe you'll get to play a role in fighting for young people's rights.

Related link: Young Modder's Alliance

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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