For many piercing enthusiasts and general public, earlobe piercings are not “real” piercings. These are often not considered piercings in the true sense of the word, even though there is no much difference between them and any other piercing type, if we talk in technical terms. However, the way earlobe piercings are perceived differ greatly to that of other piercing.
Pierced earlobes (usually considered as: “pierced ears”) are fully socially acceptable, particularly for women. They are fully accepted to the point of not being considered a body modification at all.
The Earlobe Piercing
Technically speaking, the earlobe piercing is just like any other body piercing. It is performed on the body by piercing a hole through the tissue. It is the same mechanism as any other piercing type. As such, earlobe piercings are real and true body piercings.
What makes them different than other piercings is the public’s perception and level of acceptance. Earlobe piercings are socially acceptable in ways that other body piercings are not. This is particularly true for women, but even men with pierced earlobes do not face social stigma as much as people with other types of body piercings.
Earlobe piercing is so widespread that it’s often done on babies and infants. While it raises numerous ethical questions it’s very common to see a young child with pierced earlobes. Again, it is not considered unusual or on the same level as any other body modification.
Earlobe piercing is so popular – it is the most popular piercing in the world. One good thing about this is that it’s socially acceptable and easily made. All piercing studios in the world offer it and all piercers know how to perform it. However, the popularity of this piercing also means one downside: since earlobe piercings are so popular and not even considered “real” piercings, it may seem that anybody can perform it properly.
This is how you get all those botched earlobe piercings performed by friends or other non-professionals. This is how you get a bad practice of performing ear piercings with a piercing gun. Piercing guns are bad and should never be used to perform any kind of a piercing, including earlobe piercing. However, since earlobe piercings are often not considered piercings in the true sense of the word, some people think different rules apply. This is not correct: earlobe piercings are true piercings, even though the majority of people do not see them this way.
One Exception: Stretched Lobes
There is one huge exception to the general rule, though. Stretched earlobes are not considered an ordinary “ear piercing” and are seen as a more serious body modification. Even though most of them start as nothing more but an ordinary earlobe piercing, once you start stretching, especially to large gauges, the difference in perception shows.
As such, stretched lobes are considered more extreme and serious. They are not as socially acceptable as “regular” earlobe piercings. This is why some employers still prohibit their workers from having stretched lobes or force them to hide the lobes (or any other type of a “true” piercing).
Stretched lobes are considered a bigger deal even among the piercing enthusiasts. They are more difficult to get than regular earlobe piercing (since they require care and skill of stretching), and they are also more noticeable. Stretched lobes use specific types of jewelry, such as ear plugs and flesh tunnels, so it’s another thing that makes them different than “regular earlobe piercings”.
What about Other Ear Piercing Types?
Other types of ear piercings (done on parts of the ear other than the earlobe) are getting more and more popular and also more socially accepted. It is not uncommon to see a person with numerous ear cartilage piercings or other ear piercings. Some people who don’t like piercings in general will get multiple ear piercings.
As such, ear piercings are generally accepted among general public. That being said, most of these ear piercings are considered “real” piercings, unlike the earlobe piercing. It’s also uncommon (and often illegal) to pierce a baby’s ear on any other place than the earlobe. For these reasons, these ear piercings are considered true piercings, even though they are not perceived as extreme as some other forms of body piercings.