We were grabbing a bite of lunch at a small cafe, in a mall, right across from a booth that sold jewelry and where ears could be pierced for a fee. A mother approaches with a little girl of six or seven years old. The little girl is clearly stating that she doesn’t want her ears pierced, that’s she’s afraid of how much it will hurt, that she doesn’t like earrings much in the first place. Her protests, her clear ‘no’ is simply not heard. The mother and two other women, who work the booth, begin chatting and trying to engage the little girl in picking out a pair of earrings. She has to wear a particular kind when the piercing is first done but she could pick out a fun pair for later.
"I don’t want my ears pierced."
"I don’t want any earrings."
The three adults glance at each other conspiratorially and now the pressure really begins. She will look so nice, all the other girls she knows wear earrings, the pain isn’t bad.
She, the child, sees what’s coming and starts crying. As the adults up the volume so does she, she’s crying and emitting a low wail at the same time. “I DON’T WANT MY EARS PIERCED.”
Her mother leans down and speaks to her, quietly but strongly, the only words we could hear were ‘… embarrassing me.’
We heard, then, two small screams, when the ears were pierced.
Little children learn early and often that ‘no doesn’t mean no.’
Little children learn early that no one will stand with them, even the two old men looking horrified at the events from the cafeteria.
Little girls learn early and often that their will is not their own.
No means no, yeah, right.
Most often, for kids and others without power, ”no means force.”
What's your opinion on people such as Russ Foxx, Chase Campbell, Pineapple, etc?
The following isn’t an attack on any of the people you mentioned specifically…
Here’s the deal. Sutures, anesthetics, that kind of stuff… it’s surgery. As far as I know, no body modification artists are licensed surgeons. That doesn’t mean these “heavy” practitioners can’t be safe, or knowledgeable, but it means laws are being broken when they execute procedures on people. That’s all fine and dandy, really, if both parties are aware of the risks - largely that the practitioner doesn’t have the ability to really and truly “fix” things that might go wrong (prescribing medication, malpractice insurance that would cover hospital visits, etc.).
I really don’t think many people who offer these procedures are telling this to their clients - sure, some do, but a lot don’t. This promotes the mindset we see of “OMG, so and so is in town, I’m going to get my _______ split / removed / altered / reversed”, and not “OMG, I’m spending tons of money to have someone who most likely didn’t complete college do surgery on me, and if something goes wrong, I’m on my own!” I know people with irreparable damage to their bodies from people who didn’t know how to say “I shouldn’t do this.” Clients of these practitioners think what they’re doing is a step cooler than tattoos and piercings, and feel pressured from their peers and role models to be more “extreme”. Cool points don’t cover hospital bills though.
I think the piercing industry has a habit of elevating the people who offer these procedures to a really high status, and I think that encourages people to view being a professional piercer as a stepping stone to being an underground surgeon. For every person out there I personally might trust to do these procedures on myself, there’s dozens of others solely out to make money and seek fame who are hurting people. It scares me that if I wanted, I could buy all the medical supplies I’d need to do an implant online far easier than I could buy the supplies to do a piercing with industry standard jewelry. It saddens me that people contact me all the time asking me to point their ears / do their implants / whatever when I have never even alluded to offering those procedures. I could easily just start doing this stuff, with no idea what I’m doing, and people are already lined up to give me money for it.
The most scary thing is that A LOT of the people offering this work shove it in the public’s face via social media, and because these people are “body piercers” in the eyes of government officials, when they decide to attack this stuff, they’re coming after ALL body piercers, not just the people offering this level of work.
Is it safe to get a piercing with anodized jewelry?
Yes, anodized jewelry is perfectly safe for an initial piercing (assuming the jewelry itself is an implant grade material with a proper surface finish and appropriate threading).
So, there’s two kinds of colored jewelry you’ll find with body jewelry.
PVD (physical vapor deposition)
In a nutshell, this is considered bad for fresh piercings, and arguably for healed piercings too.
This method of coloring jewelry consists of thin films of a material being applied to the jewelry via a vacuum deposition process. You have likely seen this kind of jewelry at some retail stores that carry costume-type body jewelry.
This added film of material has a tendency of flaking off rather quickly when worn inside a body piercing. This can be problematic as the jewelry becomes quite unpleasant looking, and the small flakes can sometimes cause discomfort or irritation in a fresh piercing.
For jewelry that needs to be bent to get on or off, captive bead rings for instance, the coating is even more prone to flaking off as it cannot flex or bend with the metal, the coated material breaks off.
The metals we use in body piercing that can be anodized (titanium & niobium) cannot naturally turn red, white, orange or super shiny black, so you can easily spot PVD coated jewelry when you see these colors.
Here are some examples of jewelry that I found labeled as “anodized steel” or “matte finish steel”. These are bad.
^^The blue color on top can be achieved when anodizing titanium or niobium, but the red cannot. These are both PVD coated steel pieces.
^^Here is another example of a color that body jewelry cannot safely turn to. This one is labeled as a “matte finish steel” ring. This too is not appropriate for fresh piercings.
Niobium can turn black, but that is done with a heating process, causing the metals color to turn black from the inside out, not just on the surface, and it’s perfectly safe and will not flake off.
Though niobium can have a very nice dark black finish, it’s not that Batman super super black you see on PVD coated pieces.
Currently, no body jewelry manufacturer that offers PVD coated jewelry can provide documentation (MSDS) to show the material they’re coating with is safe for long term wear inside the body.
Here’s an example of niobium that has had the heating process to change it’s color naturally to black:
Titanium or Niobium anodized jewelry achieves its colors in a process where electricity is introduced to the metal, and is perfectly safe for fresh and healed piercings.
There are other metals and alloys that can be anodized, and some can turn other colors, such as red, but for the sake of body piercing jewelry we’re only dealing with titanium and niobium.
Anodizing forces the titanium or niobium’s oxide layer to grow thicker. Basically, it screws up the way light bounces off the surface of the jewelry, giving us the effect of a copper, bronze, purple, etc. colored piece of jewelry.
In some instances with anodized jewelry, the colors can start to fade or go back down the color chart (pictured below). This isn’t always the case, but sometimes this can be caused by body cleaning products or even your body’s own pH. This fading is not anything flaking off into your body, but rather the oxide layer being worn away, which poses no health concern to you or your fresh piercing.
So some key notes regarding the metals we use in body piercing:
Steel does not anodize. Its color cannot change unless it is PVD coated. Jewelry labeled as “anodized steel”, “titanium coated steel” or something similar is not appropriate for a fresh piercing.
F136 or F67 titanium does not turn black. So jewelry labeled as “black titanium” is not appropriate for a fresh piercing.
Hope you find this helpful with picking out your future jewelry for initial piercings.
So while I was scrolling through tumblr today I saw this meme of a google search auto complete. This is something that comes up all the time at my studio and I’ve never thought to address it here.
Yes, at one point a single earlobe piercing was used to signify sexual orientation. A kind of subtle nod to those in the know. Over the years that is something which has faded away. Now many people wear a single lobe piercing simply for the joy of self expression, there is no hidden meaning to it. I can’t count how many times people have asked “which side is the gay side?”. My default answer is now a deadpan “both are”.
So let’s just enjoy the art of piercing and stop worrying about what they signify. There are no piercings that make you gay. Although you do run the risk of becoming FABULOUS.
Hiya! First off, I love your blog <3 Secondly I wanted to ask the price for some piercings. I want to have an industrial, one cartilage, and one tragus. How much would that cost in both USD and Euro? (I live in Germany but there's also American piercing shops around here who take both $ and € )
Hi there! Thanks! I am glad you like my blog! :)
As for your question, it really isn’t something I can answer! There is a big variation in prices that shops charge, because there is often a big variation in the overheads for running a shop, depending on the country and area. Your best bet would be to contact the studios you’re keen on visiting and get some quotes from them :)
About the project, according to the show(I know reality shows aren't truthful) the girl was dared to let the piercer give her any piercing he wanted and he choose that for a cool portfolio pic. Some are only blaming the girl, it's not 100% her fault
Yeah, absolutely the piercer is to blame here.
Piercers: Your clients trust you to do right by them. They trust you as a professional that you’re going to take care of them, do the best you can by them. They trust that you know what you’re doing, they trust that everything in your studio is clean, they trust that you won’t harm them by knowingly giving them a piercing (or 70) that will cause long-term damage to their bodies.