Debra Darvick advocates mutilating babies (PS. She’s also a bigot) [The Publisher’s Ring]

Debra Darvick advocates mutilating babies

PS. She’s also a bigot.

bigot n.  One who is strongly partial to one’s own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

prejudice n.  An adverse judgment or opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge or examination of the facts; a preconceived preference or idea. Irrational suspicion or hatred of a particular group, race, or religion.

In the July 12th issue of Newsweek magazine (which you can read online here), Debra Darvick — a woman who believes she must have shamans ritually mutilate the penises of babies to appease her god — writes that those with piercings are disgusting and that she won’t interact with them because they make her “nearly blow her lunch”. She launches a tirade of ignorant insults against those with piercings based on both false assumptions and simple bigotry, eventually coming to the conclusion that people should be judged first on appearance, and second on behavior.

She begins by writing,

“When I can read the latte menu through the hole in my server’s earlobe, something is seriously out of whack. The first time I saw this I nearly blew my lunch into the tip jar. Is this how the Gen-whatevers define beauty?”

The fact is that piercings — most commonly stretched earlobes — have been a defining standard of beauty over nearly all of human history, even if Debra Darvick’s short-sightedness decides to class it as ugly. It’s actually quite strange that some people in the West have forgotten that. However, ignoring her stupidity for a moment, here are a few more comments from her introduction.

“The first time he waited on me I went weak in the knees ... He had a ring. In his nose. Toro style. It was big enough to hold one of my dinner napkins ... Does anybody else suffer frissons of revulsion, or is it just me? I cannot let him wait on me. I like chatting with wait staff and servers as much as the next patron. But if I can’t look someone in the face because of his piercings, please take my place in line. I’ll await the next cashier.”

Debra Darvick prides herself on being a good Jewish mother (she even opens her book, The Jewish Life, with anecdotes about her son’s bris), yet her approach to people she doesn’t understand is ridicule and abuse. This type of child abuse that Debra Darvick seems to espouse is often linked to eating disorders and other disorders related to shame and self-esteem issues — including suicide, which the University of Minnesota says is increased as much as 300% by teasing. In America, over 160,000 students miss school every day because of teasing and bullying. According to the NEA, this teasing damages the education process not just for those being teased, but for all students because of the climate of fear it generates. More than half of all students know someone who left school because of teasing, and less than a quarter of students believe that teachers ever intervene in this teasing (and according to the National Mental Health and Education Center, many teachers have no problem at all with teasing and intervene only 4% of the time)… Now Debra Darvick wants to bring this crime to the pages of Newsweek as well, thus legitimizing it even more.

Before you say that Ms. Darvick just has a problem with piercings because she’s fundamentally clueless and out of touch, she teases at any opportunity be it her snide “Gen-whatever” and “Gen-XYZ” tags, or when she describes the gap between her and her children as yawning “wider than the space between David Letterman’s two front teeth.” She’s also very clear that this has nothing to do with service or behavior — it’s exclusively about looks. Here is how she describes just the job performance of the people she’s chosen to publicly degrade and ridicule:

“These young people are helpful, enthusiastic, efficient. They offer service with a smile.”

However, doing a good job isn’t what she’s looking for. As she points out over and over, people with piercings make her want to vomit. She has to “stifle a shudder or two” when she notices someone’s piercings. I myself shudder when I imagine how she might react to those who are obese, unattractive, or simply of a race different than her own. Later in the article she tries to intellectualize an explanation, but only her ignorance is evident in it.

“...piercings have become a mode of group identification and the self-validation that comes with it. Some of these piercings have to hurt like hell, and the anesthetic eventually wears off. Perhaps there is pride in that pain.”

Even the most basic of research would show her that piercing is absolutely not about “being part of a group” — if anything, quite the opposite. People with piercings are far more likely to be outside the group, and given Ms. Darvick’s series of attacks, that should be obvious. Her notion that piercings hurt once “the anesthetic wears off” is laughable and illustrates that she has done zero research into what she’s writing about and cares little about the truth, and even less about the welfare of young people and their families. And this is the calibre of writing that wins two Rockower awards for excellence in Jewish journalism?

She pejoratively hopes that piercing is just a “phase” like the “no bra, hair down to there and bell-bottoms” look of the children of the 70s, which she admits she did share, but cared little for the associated feminism and social justice. You know what? If vapid hatemongers like Debra Darvick are what is produced when “the trend” is over, all the more reason for young people to get pierced and stay pierced. It all underscores the overwhelmingly obvious — Debra Darvick is simply too closed-minded to comprehend these issues, and when she doesn’t understand something, she attacks it. The kind of attitude she’s arguing for can be used to justify atrocities of all sorts, most obviously the Holocaust, a stain on history that occurred because otherwise good people decided it was acceptable to hate a group of people because of their differences.

She concludes by writing that she probably won’t let “Mr. Toro” (her nom de plume douleur for the worker with a septum piercing) serve her again, and when a publication as large as Newsweek prints hatred like this, it ensures that many young people will be fired from their jobs for looking the way they have chosen to look, to say nothing of the teasing it validates and the lives it can destroy. As a direct result of Debra Darvick’s actions, young people will be hurt. But like I said, she did have part of her son Elliot’s penis cut off to ensure god would like him… Whether you agree with her actions in doing so or not is irrelevant. The point is that it puts her, someone who mutilated a child without any consent, in a position where she has no right to comment on someone else’s decision to pierce themselves of their own free will unless she’s willing to be judged in turn.

I doubt that anything I or anyone else writes will change Ms. Darvick’s stance on child abuse and her apparent love for bringing pain to those she does not understand, so I haven’t tried to explain to her “why” we transform ourselves in this way. In any case, it is inexcusable for Newsweek or any other pseudo-reputable publication at least doing a charade of journalism to give credence and support to teasing in such a public forum — have they forgotten that it was only a few years ago that they themselves pointed out (in “The Roots of Violence: Why The Young Kill”) exactly what the outcome of such teasing is, and that they have regularly printed articles on the damage that attitudes like Ms. Darvick’s do to young people?

Debra Darvick can be reached at (248) 646-5044 in Birmingham, MI (I won’t print the rest of her address, also available online, because I have no wish to see harm come to her or anyone else), although her son told me that she’s currently on vacation and said people should call her cell phone instead at (248) 561-4989. If you’re wondering why her son would give out her cell phone number to me, she herself says that her children characterize her beliefs as “horrible and prejudiced”. You know what Debra? If your own children think you’re a bigot, maybe you should listen.

And to Newsweek, next time you decide to print a story on body piercing, I hope you will consider hiring a journalist that cares more about researched facts than simply finding a platform for their uninformed prejudice.

Shannon Larratt

Some of the comments I’ve gotten so far:

ONEGA (21, Norfolk)
“I certainly didn’t eschew the Maidenform to bond with feminist ideologues.” — Perhaps that is what her problem is; she did say in her Newsweek article that she wore bellbottoms and went sans bra, but didn’t partake in anything other than the look. She only partly lets herself experience life. She can’t understand full experiences, or things that will allow others to live fully because she herself has not.

RUB (29, Emeryville)
I read her “article” and was incredibly disturbed. She reminds me of kids I went to school with who just tortured me (as well as others) for looking different or having different beliefs/ideals. Is she an example of what happens when the “alpha” students grow up? Frightening.

INCUR (23, Victoria)
I like the fact that the “sponsored links” at the bottom of the article all relate to body piercing / body jewelery.

SNITTY (29, Columbia)
So, I wonder how long ago it was that women “her age” with TWO WHOLE EAR LOBE piercings were considered gross and unworthy of eye to eye conversation? Why’d she had to disfigure herself that way?

ALI719 (19, Philadelphia)
What an ignorant bitch. Refusing service of a modded person is the same as refusing to be assisted by someone black, homosexual, etc. etc. I’d spit in her face if she ever came my way.

LIVE FOR PAIN (19, Indianapolis)
What bugs me about what she said is this “Her ear tinkled metal each time she moved. Where was I supposed to focus when I was speaking with her?” From the photo taken of her, she has fairly large earrings in. The actual piercing might be 16 or 18 gauge whatever. But the size of her jewelry is just as bad or if not worse than an eyebrow or tongue piercing. Her jewelry reflects just as much light if not more than an eyebrow piercing. Where does another human have the right to judge another? She said she isn’t prejudiced but she is. She has attacked everyone in the body modification culture. Supposedly we are all “Created Equal” but in her view we aren’t.

THOUSAND WATT BITCH (20, Bossier City)

I work in retail management and in the time that I have done this type of work, I have had more positive comments and people that are truly intrigued by my modifications than I have had people tell me that they are disgusting and that “god doesn’t approve.” Don’t get me wrong, I have had my share of assholes, but when you wait on 250-500 people a day, by yourself, 3 people a week telling you that you are going to burn in hell isn’t bad. I was hired because of my personality and determination to get the job done. My boss hired me when I walked in. At the time, I had 3 facial piercings, my tongue, and a good bit of ear work done. Just because she hired me doesn’t mean she approved, but in getting to know me she has learned that there is more to me that the shiny objects protruding from my face that make my smile even brighter. One occasion, a lady in line whispered to another lady, when I was picking up my check on my day off, that “people with that shit in their face are usually on drugs and have poor personal hygiene.” Mind you, I was on my way to a graduation and was dressed very nicely. My boss asked the lady to refrain from making such comments and told her what a great person I was, how hard that I work, and so on. The lady thought my boss did not hear her and she became so upset that the regular customers in line took up for me, as well as my boss, the lady dropped her merchandise and left. Who are these people and where do they come from? I don’t barge into their place of employment, where they shop, and their homes, hunt them down and tell them what kind of worthless and idiotic people they are. I do now know which is worse… The fact that this lady is actually this ignorant or that the company that she works for will allow her to have this type of slenderizing, garbage printed that actually singles out people.

This entry was posted in Features and tagged by Shannon Larratt. Bookmark the permalink.

About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>