I was appalled last week to run across this piece about a mother who had her seven year old undergo plastic surgery to prevent future bullying. Aaron brought it to my attention when he saw it first on the Yahoo homepage. Since I didn’t view the piece until the next day, I had no idea and was positive as I tried explaining it.
My imagination was flying as I considered the things that could be bad enough to warrant plastic surgery to prevent future possible bullying. Cleft lip? Raspberry scar? A face that looks like Sloth from The Goonies?
Nope. This little girl has big ears. There’s a technical, plastic surgery term for it: cup ears.
Puh-leez. Seriously? This is the drama? Ears that stick out a little?
The mother admitted that no real bullying has occurred so far. But that people asked questions (one of her daughter’s ears is also bent on the top). She said adults were the worst. I don’t know whether curiosity is the same as bullying, but that’s a topic for an entirely different post.
The plastic surgeon who performed the surgery supported it whole-heartedly. He did it for no cost, unless you count the endless publicity he’s received. Studies were cited that said popular children grow up better, blah blah blah.
This is where they lost me. Sorry, folks, but we all can’t be popular! Duh! If everyone is popular, than being popular is meaningless.
Here’s how the world works:
- We can’t all be beautiful.
- We can’t all be built like models.
- We can’t all have perfect bone structure.
- We can’t all be the smartest.
- We can’t all be the fastest.
But we can be ourselves. We can be different and embrace those differences. Those very differences are what make us who we are.
What a lesson in diversity this mother missed. Instead of telling her daughter that her ears were beautiful–like the rest of her–and that she should embrace her differences, the mother reinforces the fact that the daughter is flawed. So flawed that she required surgery to correct this deformity.
Instead of this being a lesson to teach the other kids that different is ok, that opportunity is gone also. Anticipating the worst in her child’s classmates, the mother jumped the gun.
This whole thing makes me sad. Sad that kids are being held to impossible standards of beauty, strength, and performance. We beauti-fy and sexi-fy our young girls. We tell our children they are fat. We tell our children they are dumb–after all, low test scores are leading to the decline of the American school system. We fill their free time with activity after activity, play date after play date. We don’t acknowledge true accomplishments (to save the self-esteem of all the children, you know).
I believe it’s never been this hard to be a kid before. What are we doing?