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Outrage over 14-year- old's nipple piercing

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16:42 CEST+02:00
The mother of a Swedish teenager is fuming at the ease with which her daughter was able to get her nipple pierced, sparking calls for the introduction of age limits on piercing in Sweden.

“They asked my teenage daughter to pull up her shirt and then they put a metal rod in her nipple,” said the mother of the 14-year-old girl to the Göteborgs Tidningen (GT) newspaper.

“What sort of joker operation is this? […] My daughter's body hasn't even finished growing yet.”

The mother's comments come after her daughter had her nipple pierced at the Salong Pelos piercing studio in Gothenburg.

According to the girl, no one at the establishment inquired about her age on a recent visit to the shop where she paid 400 kronor ($50) to have her nipple pierced.

“I'd heard from friends that it was easy to get pierced at this place,” the girl told the newspaper.

But the owner of Salong Pelos claimed otherwise, claiming he always asks young women seeking to be pierced how old they are.

“We're not some public agency and are not required to ask for proof of age from young people,” the store owner explained to GT.

While the store owner said he is normally open to discussing disputes with concerned parents, the behaviour of the girl's irate mother, who claimed “it's obviously a sex thing to get your nipple pierced”, led him to instead throw her out of the shop.

Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) classifies piercing and tattooing alongside other body modification procedures such as plastic surgery, recommending that such operations only be carried out on minors who have permission from a legal guardian.

But the recommendations have no legally binding consequences and are not seen as a prohibition against someone under the age of 18-years-old getting pierced, something which Moderate Party Riksdag member Lars-Arne Staxäng would like to see changed.

“I think that anyone under the age of 18 ought to be required to present written permission from their parents before they get pierced,” Staxäng told The Local.

Staxäng previously submitted a parliamentary motion calling for an 18-year-old age limit for tattoos and believes the same reasoning applies when it comes to piercing.

“These procedures are fads that young people may come to regret,” he explained.

“While it's easier to take out a piercing than to remove a tattoo, there are still a number of health risks involved.”

Sweden's Association of Safe Piercing (ASAP), a group of piercers working for awareness of issues of hygiene when it comes to piercing, also supports age limits on piercing.

The group is currently working on legislative proposals which would require parental consent before anyone under the age of 18 could be pierced and also completely prohibits minors from getting their nipples or genitals pierced.

While the group also advocates that no age limit be placed on ear piercings, it proposes that a parent or guardian must be present for anyone under the age of 18 and that other “surface piercings” be restricted to people who are 15-years-old and older.

In each case the young person, as well as the parent or guardian, would be required to show identification confirming their age and guardian relationship.

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