Hair dyes and ear piercings: How young is too young? This is what Singaporeans have to say

Hair dyes and ear piercings: How young is too young? This is what Singaporeans have to say

Timing is everything

Text: Emily Heng


While ear piercings and bold hair hues barely garner a raised brow in recent years, the same can hardly be said when there's a child involved. Take the recent debate sparked by new mums Hilary Duff and Jessica Simpson, for instance. Both mothers came under fire for piercing their daughter's ears and dyeing their hair respectively, leading to a deluge of accusations ranging from 'shallow' to 'abuse'. The heart of the issue is rooted in how children are unable to give full or informed consent to these changes, which can cause them a "tremendous amount of pain and discomfort" according to naysayers, simply to appeal to their parent's vanity.

And while it might be a valid point to certain groups of individuals, what does this say about Singapore at large, where ear piercings are considered a rite of passage in our culture? What makes an act taboo in one society, and accepted in one another? We pass on the microphone to Singaporeans.

Nothing lasts forever
"My kids were the ones who begged me to get their ears pierced. They noticed the earrings I'm wearing, and insisted that they wanted to try jewelry, too. And who am I to disrespect their wishes? I brought them to get their ears pierced at six and seven respectively, which is actually considered quite late in Asian societies. Personally, I don't think it's as much of a big deal as people make it out to be. If they hate it in the future, just take the earrings out and wait for the holes to close up. Hair dye washes out too, you know." — The cool mom

Listen to your folks
"I don't think there's any problem with making decisions for your children when they're too young to do it for themselves. Doesn't matter if it's ear piercings, hair dye... Parents know best when it comes to their kids, okay?" — The mother who knows best

Young blood
"Isn't it better to get it done young? I don't remember the pain from piercing my ears as a child, but I'll probably remember it if I get it done now. As for hair dye, it boils down to personal choice. It's not cool if you dye your kid's hair unprovoked, but if your kid asks for it, I see no issue." — The one with the good memory

Patience is a virtue
"I see where the pushback is coming from. I think kids who are two to six years old are too young to get ear piercings or hair dye, and that they should be given the freedom to decide for themselves if they want it at an older age. Parents should just be patient and hold back on these sort of decisions until kids are ready to decide on their own. They may be children, but you should still respect their wishes, ultimately." — O wise one

The judgement is real
"It comes down to the type of earring and colour of hair dye. I tend to judge someone more harshly if they give their kid super impractical colours, like blue hair or green. Or those really heavy, dangling earrings. It's unnecessary and encourages vanity. You really want your kids to get stared at on the street meh?" — The real Judge Judy

Asian persuasion
"I'm going to say something controversial here. In Western cultures, kids are treated as actual human beings no matter how young. In Asian societies, you're pretty much your parent's property up till you're like... 25. [Laughs] If you ask your mom to respect your wishes and not pierce your ears, she'll probably laugh in your face. Asian parents are always going to think that they know what's best for you — though they're usually right." — The disgruntled millennial

Time to revolt 
"In Indian culture, it's customary that we get our ears pierced at a really young age. My dad was a rebel and insisted that me and my siblings abstain, though, and I remember being teased about it by my cousins during my childhood. I went out and got it done myself when I was 13, and it was the best decision ever. I respect that my parents gave me the choice to decide for myself, but I'd rather they just spared me the misery and did it when I was a kid. It would have saved me a trip to 77th Street. [Laughs]." — The really disgruntled millennial

Parent police
"The issue doesn't seem to be about kids being the 'right' age. The issue is more about parents shaming other parents for the decisions they make for their kids, when it's really none of their business in the first place." —The individual

"I'd say just leave it up to the kids. Save yourself the cash and refrain if they don't ask it of you. Don't waste your hard-earned cash (or energy)." — The practical parent

Where's the law?
"I'd say ear piercings are acceptable once they're in primary school; hair dye only when they're in Polytechnic. Aren't schools supposed to regulate this? Can the government get in on this and pass a law on it to save me the headache?" — A very tired mom-to-be