The following letter appeared in today’s “Dear Abby
” column. This isn’t the first time
I’ve commented on one of America’s most widely syndicated know-it-all know-nothings, but her stupidity continues to escalate and it really must be commented on once again. To put it into deeper context, the column prides itself on having “common sense and a youthful perspective
.” See if you can find these, because I can find neither.
DEAR ABBY: My beautiful wife, “Doreen,” turned 41 a couple of months ago. Since then she has had extra piercings in her ears and has taken to wearing thumb rings, toe rings and ankle bracelets. Yesterday she pierced her navel. I am embarrassed for her. We have a 13-year-old daughter who is also embarrassed for her. How do I tell Doreen she looks silly? — NOT SO HIP IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR NOT SO HIP: Your wife’s fetish brings new meaning to the term “heavy metal.” It shouldn’t be necessary to give her a lecture. Just walk in carrying a powerful magnet. That should send a message.
Yeah, it’ll send a message alright. It sends the message that Jeanne Phillips (aka “Abby”) is no metallurgist — no jewelry commonly used in body piercing is in fact magnetic. That said, let’s look at the hatred in her letter more closely.
You’d think she’d be more open minded, especially considering that on November 8, 2002, Jeanne told a mother to support her daughter’s involvement in pornography. But in today’s letter she begins by calling a couple extra earrings and a navel piercing a “fetish”. It’s not a fetish. At that level it’s barely even a fashion decision, and there are easily hundreds of thousands of other women over forty with navel piercings. It’s far from a lifestyle change, let alone a drastic one that could shatter a thirteen year old’s view of their mother. Overreact much?
The second part of her response isn’t just typically ignorant; it’s hateful. It in effect denounces the wife’s obtaining of a navel piercing as so repugnant or foolish that it doesn’t deserve a spoken response, and finishes by making what is in effect a joke about violence and wife abuse. Let’s swap in virtual Anne Coulter to illustrate Abby’s response in a new context.
|DEAR ANNE: My beautiful niece, “Doreen,” turned 16 a couple of months ago. Since then she has been wearing revealing clothing and talking to boys. Yesterday she wore a tube top to school. My son is embarrassed for her. How do I make it clear to Doreen that she looks like a slut? — CONCERNED IN CANADA
DEAR CONCERNED: Your niece’s whorefest gives new meaning to the term “McTrampsalot”. You shouldn’t have to tell her. Just have a buddy of yours rape her. That should send a message.
Extreme and distasteful example? You bet. But don’t deny that Ms. Dear Abby is being very clear in her message — body piercing, even of the most minor sort, is unacceptable behavior deserving of derision and abuse, and that this abuse and derision is a “common sense” response by reasonable people. Because of her continued ignorant and hateful statements Jeanne Phillips is directly responsible for introducing pain into the lives of both young people and adults, and the newspapers that syndicate her column share in that blame. It’s time for the media to stop unquestioningly printing hatred and abuse like this.
Pauline “Abigail Van Buren” Phillips, Jeanne Phillips’ mother and the founder of the “Dear Abby” column once received a letter from a reader concerned that a gay couple had moved into their neighborhood, and wanted her advice on what they could do to improve the quality of the neighborhood. “You could move,” Abigail famously replied. It’s a sad reflection on the Abby of this generation that Jeanne lacked the moral strength of character to tell this husband to respect his wife’s freedom of expression and zest for life.
I said it in the title, I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again here: Dear Abby, YOU SUCK.
BME is filled with the stories of many forty- and fifty-somethings (and older) telling their stories about body modification. Below are links to a few stories written about navel piercing by older women. My hope is that Ms. Dear Abby takes the time to read these and perhaps learns something. Just Do It!!!!! (43)
“I told my husband that after all this time of doing what is expected that I had a wild child inside me just waiting to be born. He said he hopes this is as wild as the child was going to get. I think it looks great and it makes me feel good about myself and if the truth be known, the ‘old guy’ likes it too!”
My Navel at 43
“I feel much better about myself than I did before this piercing. I had always thought I was fat and now, I feel like my stomach is beautiful and I don’t always need to hide my figure.”
My commitment to nurture myself (43)
“The routine of bathing and taking time to cleanse and maintain my piercings reinforces that I need to take time for my own needs. I love the way my body looks with my jewelry. I am well and I am beautiful.”
My 51 year old wife – got to love her
“To her, I have to say ‘WHAT A GIRL’ she was great and at 50 and still willing to be ‘out there’ looking good — you have to love her for it and I do.”
Suburban Mom takes the plunge (40)
“I’m 40, a mother of three, and a corporate attorney. A few months ago, I started joking around with my 10-year-old daughter about having my bellybutton pierced. She was horrified by the idea. Moms just don’t DO that!”
You don’t have to be young! (42)
“I took off another 10 lbs, and decided to give myself the impetus for the last 5 by making my tummy the star attraction.”
Not too old to rock ’n roll (46)
“I had admired navel piercings on others, and I thought, why not? At 46 and after 2 children, I certainly didn’t look like I did at 20, but in my mind I’m FAR from over the hill. You’re as young as you feel!!!”
A mid-life crisis navel piercing. (47)
“On the 10th of February, my girlfriend and I were both turning 47 and in a fit of mid-life crisis, she decided that we should both get our navels pierced.”
Never Too Old (44)
“Yes, my teenage son is completely mortified and I have yet to tell my mother. I haven’t decided if I’m the coolest mom on the block, or the biggest dork this side of 40. Then again, what you think of me is none of my business.”
My “old” friend Amy, 44 years old, mother of two, granny of one, happily married, full of life… pierced and painted. Visit her on IAM.