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Harassment: The Elephant in the Room of Many Studios

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

"My Body is Political"

Our bodies are political. Piercing reaffirms this to us daily. I venture to say that every action and relationship is political. Our affections, our work, the help we provide, our dialogues. When we talk about politics, it is necessary to understand that there is a system, a set of attributes that form the social base defining standards and, with them, privileges and oppressions. And this is where harassment also comes in.

There are several ways, forms and formats where harassment can be present. When the professional makes the client remove more clothes than necessary for a piercing or tattoo, when the photo highlights the client's body more than the work itself, when intimate piercing is cheaper for people with a vulva when performed by men, when there are sexual or degrading comments about someone's body color, shape or texture, and these are just a few examples. When a boss uses hierarchy to yell at or humiliate an employee, doubts his word or makes accusations about products, prefers to always work with people who represent his gender (a feminine woman, a masculine man), makes him accumulate functions without the due remuneration, prohibits the use of haircuts or style clothes out of prejudice, forces the employee to go against his principles and work with certain inputs with the threat that if he does not do so he will be fired. These are some other examples (even though institutionalized).

The subject is wide - first, because there are actually several types of harassment (such as sexual, moral, virtual and psychological), second because we would need to evaluate each one of them and think of solutions for both clients and professionals. What I can leave in this text is an invitation to consider: if everything is political, we need to understand how much our positions are perpetuating privileges and collaborating with oppression. How much can we actually build equity without putting ourselves in the roles of saviors? How not to sexualize a woman's body? How to be an ally without wanting to be a protagonist? How to avoid comments about the other person's aesthetics or lifestyle? How to understand that piercing was never about people within the standard? How to understand that the history of piercing does not begin in Europe and was a ritualistic moment of non-white societies? How to bring these teachings to our posters and feeds, service and reception?

The harassment will not end until we understand the social structures of power. As long as there are male professionals who touch our bodies beyond necessary at the time of the procedure, while a black person is belittled when entering your store, while a dyke woman who doesn't perform femininity is passed over to work for you, as long as there is an overexposure of the body as a product, as long as affection between two women or two men is an issue, as long as we think that a particular customer doesn't have enough money to buy from us, as long as we believe that safe piercing should not be for everyone.

We are social and political beings.

First, we must think. Then act.

The opinion of the columnist is not necessarily an opinion of Coletivo Sala Solidária.


Nina Falci (Minas Gerais, Brazil)

Body Piercer at Ao Cubo.

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