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Note: This article contains graphic content.

Enedina Vance does not agree with parents who choose to modify their children’s bodies.

The mother of six is so ardently opposed to parents altering their children’s bodies — i.e. by circumcision, ear piercings, etc. — that she made an example out of her youngest child.

Showcasing her daughter’s new cheek piercing, the “intactivist” mom posted a photo to Facebook that has been shared more than ten thousand times:

So I got the baby girl's dimple pierced!! ??????It looks so cute, right?!! I just know she's gonna love it!! She'll…

Posted by Enedina Vance on Wednesday, June 28, 2017

She captioned the photo, in part:

She’ll thank me when she’s older lol If she decides she doesn’t like it, she can just take it out, no big deal ?? I’m the parent, she is MY CHILD, I will do whatever I want!!

I make all of her decisions until she’s 18, I made her, I own her!! I don’t need anyone’s permission, I think it’s better, cuter, & I prefer her to have her dimple pierced. Its NOT abuse!! If it was, it would be illegal, but it’s not. People pierce their babies everyday, this is no different ??

As Yahoo Beauty reported, the post left commenters “enraged,” many calling Vance a terrible mother and threatening to call child protective services on her. In a follow-up social media post, the mother revealed that the photo had provoked hundreds of hate messages as well as threats of severe physical violence.

Posted by Enedina Vance on Thursday, June 18, 2015

However, keen eyes noticed that perhaps not all was as it seemed in the photo, as viewers began to notice either that the piercing looked unrealistic or the hashtag at the bottom of the post that said “#sarcasm.”

Vance’s follow-up post confirmed that the photo was indeed photoshopped and created to prove a point that piercing a baby’s body without their consent is akin to forcing young males to undergo circumcision against their will — a cause the mother feels passionately about:

And according to many, many, M A N Y posts & comments, it was a very bad & obvious photoshopped attempt on my part lol And yet, hundreds of people ACTUALLY believed it as real!!

Vance explained to Yahoo Beauty that she became an activist against male circumcision when she was asked if she wanted the procedure performed on her first child. Although she ended up having twin girls, she was confronted with the decision again when she later gave birth to a baby boy:

“I found out that research from around the world proves genital cutting serves absolutely no health benefits at all. […] In fact, studies I found show genital cutting actually causes damage to the penis. Lifelong damage. It’s only here in the U.S. that there are claimed ‘medical reasons’ or ‘health benefits’ for genital cutting, but they have all been proven false.”

As the Mayo Clinic writes, circumcision is a “fairly common” surgical procedure performed on newborn males in which the skin on the tip of the penis is removed. It is performed as part of a religious or cultural tradition, or as a preference for personal hygiene and/or preventative care. The Mayo Clinic adds that some view circumcision as unnecessary and disfiguring.

Vance, among those against the practice of circumcision, said she used the photo of her baby with a pierced cheek to educate others on the topic, calling the outrage over her daughter’s piercing hypocritical:

Piercing is bad, but cutting is accepted as the norm? […]

Education is key & the truth is, genital cutting is completely unnecessary. Its NOT cleaner, not healthier, & definitely does not look better!! But most importantly, it is NOT your body to alter or modify for aesthetic purposes.

According to Yahoo Beauty, in 2012 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a policy statement on newborn male circumcision, claiming that the benefits outweigh the risks; however, the report stated the conclusions drawn were different than those physicians in other Westernized societies might recommend.

The AAP does not advise routine circumcision for all newborn males and instead defers to parents to make the decision for their children.

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A 2010 article from the Indian Journal of Urology, published by the Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), concluded that neonatal circumcision has been shown to protect against urinary tract infections (UTI) in males particularly during the first six months of life. However, the report stated that there is not enough data to advocate “routine neonatal circumcision.”

As for Vance, her feelings about circumcision or any body modification to a child are clear. As she told Yahoo Beauty:

“I’m very passionate about children’s right to physical integrity. Each and every one of us has the right to our own body, our entire body. […] Why not children? The U.S. set a law in place protecting infant girls from cultural and religious genital cutting in 1997. Why are infant boys not equally protected?”

She added:

“If ‘piercing’ my baby’s face is so enraging because she’s a baby without consent, why aren’t people just as enraged over piercing any other part of her body? Why are her ears any different than her face? […] Why is it OK to modify, alter, and mutilate our children to society’s standards? And why do people get so angry when I point out their hypocrisy?”

A mother to three boys, Vance said she refused to have them circumcised despite her husband having had the procedure and electing to have it performed on his two sons from a previous relationship.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10207923802606097&set=a.1456244739265.59849.1627740331&type=3&theater

Vance said it’s a decision her husband wishes he hadn’t made given his newfound understanding of the subject.

Citing one of the visceral reactions to her photo of the cheek piercing, Vance summarized her position on the matter: “‘Stabbing holes in your child is abuse & you don’t deserve to be a parent!’ Well said, I couldn’t agree more, so why are ear piercings & genital cutting so popular?”

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