So I saw this story the other week and I pondered about discussing it. And after thinking about it some more I am ready to share my thoughts…….
The gist of this story is about an non profit organization called Little Baby Face which provides free plastic surgery for children with facial deformities (such as a clef palette for example) and victims of bullies. The story the caught my interest was about a 14 year old girl who had been bullied terribly and received an ear job, a nose job and a chin reduction.
I have no issue with plastic surgery that repairs damage caused by illness, accident or deformity. For that I am thankful and praise the actions of Little Baby Face. However I have a huge issue with plastic surgery that is done merely for superficial reasons. Every single person has things he or she would change- no one is physically perfect. However, we (especially women) have somehow become deluded into thinking that if our noses are perkier or our boobs are bigger (smaller, higher, lower) or our lips fuller and so on we are somehow and magically a better person. This is my fear for this young lady
Over and over we tell our children that it is what is inside a person that counts. But by taking surgical instruments and rearranging her face, have we as a society not essentially told her “the bullying was your fault because you weren’t perfect” and that it is the superficial that is important? The bullies didn’t bully because of her physical appearance- that was a convenient excuse (and trust me they will find another if they are so inclined.) Bullies bully because they have found a person they can easily intimidate and that is a psychological problem at heart.
Rather than convince this young girl superficial beauty was the answer to all her woes, I strongly and firmly believe counseling would have been far more beneficial. It is the harder and longer approach (and granted more expensive whereas, in this case, the surgeries were free.) Changing how you feel about yourself inside is an arduous task a best- trust me I know. However that is a change that will last a life time- unlike a new face that will get pimples or wrinkles or age spots or any of the numerous changes all of our bodies go through than can reduce someone with low self esteem and confidence to tears.
The answer here is two fold. Give the victims of bullying the real and lasting tools they need to thrive and become stronger, more confident young adults. Give the bullies what they need to change as well. In some cases it may be punishment but in many cases I suspect they too need the tools and the education to understand why they act and feel the way they do too.
The plastic surgery in this case was like putting a band aid on a hemorrhage. It will appear to work for a while but the problem has remained and when it resurfaces again- things will be worse than before