Enedina Vance, from Ohio, US, posted the photo on 28 June with the caption: “So I got the baby girl’s dimple pierced.
“It looks so cute, right? I just know she’s gonna love it. She’ll thank me when she’s older lol. If she decides she doesn’t like it, she can just take it out, no big deal.
“I’m the parent, she is my child, I will do whatever I want.”
The photo was shared more than 12,000 times and the majority of people who believed the piercing was real were shocked.
“This is disturbing at hell,” one person wrote. “Each to their own.”
Another wrote: “No this is not right, not on her face.”
But people soon caught on that Vance’s post was sarcastic, and was intended to shock parents and start a conversation about how some parents alter their children’s bodies, including through circumcision.
She told IBT Times she has been campaigning against child circumcision ever since she was asked, when pregnant with her first child in 1998, if she would want her son’s foreskin removed by a doctor.
Commenting of the photo of Vance’s daughter, one person wrote: “I see what you’re doing here. I thought this was real at first. I hope it opens up some people’s eyes to what they’re doing to babies - piercing, circumcision, all that.”
Another mum commented, sarcastically: “And she looks so happy! I bet she ‘slept right through it’, right? If it was done ‘right’, she did.
“I prefer dimples pierced and everyone knows having a baby pierced is all about what the parents prefer.”
Vance shared another post explaining why she uploaded the photo.
She wrote on 29 June: “So it appears the focus was on how insane it would be if a parent were to modify and alter their child by forcing them to undergo a facial piercing. People were outraged and rightfully so.
“Honestly, my post was meant to shock parents into seeing their children as human beings and to respect them as such. Every angry person who shared my post, did so in an attempt to shine light on an injustice.
“Some people feel that uneasy feeling of guilt and possibly shame for making a mistake as a parent is what is also known as ‘parent shaming’.
“Unfortunately, they may not have seen piercings or genital cutting as body altering or body modifications before, but they do now and they don’t like how they feel about it. That, of course, is understandable.
“Altering a child’s body simply for aesthetic reasons is wrong.”