Teens Getting Plastic Surgery to Avoid Bullying?



When I was in middle school at Baldwin Academy for Girls the orthodontist, Hebrew School and Dance Lessons were the most common after school appointments that most of my friends took part in, (and if there was a four it would have been a music class of sorts). One of the other things that were popular were 3 procedures that most of the girls had one or all of: braces, having their ears pinned back, and nose jobs. I distinctly remember a number of the girls in my school coming back from Christmas break looking…well ever so slightly different an the nasal area. It was quite common, and almost never judged. So Why does this story make me feel a bit strange?

I think it has something to do with the reasons why this little girl has decided to “fix” her nose. She wants to get her nose fixed because she is being bullied. Now we all know that bullying has gotten an upgrade with the advancements in technology. Now the bullies’ words, and taunts travel far beyond the cafeteria, school bathroom or playground. They snake through the internet and are disseminated via text messages and have a momentum that once started is almost impossible to halt. Today being bullied is no doubt more embarrassing and painful as it is farther reaching. But it that a reason to augment one’s self? Or to allow your child to do so?

I have nothing against plastic surgery I truly don’t I do have some thoughts about the reasons why people opt for certain procedures. I know that changing your outsides will not change your insides, if you feel less than before you get you breasts done, that feeling will probably persist after the anesthesia and the newness of your implants wears off. I know that if you don’t come to some sort of acceptance of yourself one surgery will never be enough, you will always find something else that can be just a bit better. I know that happiness and comfort with one’s self cannot be bought. That having been stated I do believe that there are somethings that nag you, and distract you, and if you can just get rid of them or repair, it would be a non issue. That Pooch on the belly that won’t go away even though you have dieted and worked out like a demon, maybe your body would be more balanced with a bit more on top, or that bump on your nose is just irritating, maybe you feel much younger than you look and erasing crow’s feet would help your insides match your outsides. I get it. I say go for it. But when you are doing it to please someone else, or in the hopes of some reaction outside of yourself you might be setting yourself up for more disappointment.

This young girl, is fixing her nose so that she won’t be teased about it any more. Ok, well what if they decide to pick on her lips, her weight, (she is very thin) or the color of her eyes what then? Surgery in this case isn’t the answer to the problem. I completely understand her parents not wanting her to suffer, but giving people – mean people the power to make you change yourself to be left alone isn’t empowering and might be sending this young lady the wrong message. What happens when a boyfriend thinks she breast aren’t large enough? or her behind is too flat? Does it say if people don’t like you, change? If people talk about you, conform. When and how does this young lady learn to stand in her Self? When does she learn that she is enough, not broken, possibly flawed but perfect even still? How will she gain the power and strength to tell someone “If you don’t like the way I look don’t look at me!”

Growing up is messy and painful, hell being an adult is messy and painful and ultimately we are a product of what we survive. It is not easy but it is a truth that “What doesn’t kill you strengthens you” and that all the horrors of your childhood do build character in so far as it informs your choices, the way you react and respond to like situations when you are an adult.

This young lady has a lot of lessons still ahead of her and I have no doubt that the choice to have the surgery will have just as poignant a message as if she had not had it, but I can’t help feeling like on some level those bullies won this battle…

What do you think?

Hosted by Huffington Post
Earlier this year, ABC news reported that plastic surgery to avoid being bullied was on the rise, and that in 2007 alone, around 90,000 teens went under the knife.

After enduring online harassment and name-calling multiple times a week because of the shape of her nose, Nicolette Taylor, a 13 year-old from Long Island decided to take drastic action: plastic surgery, Nightline reported.

Although Taylor accepted teasing as a normal and unavoidable part of growing up, to her, social networking sites like Facebook made it 10 times worse.

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