Monday, January 6, 2014

Bullying and Cosmetic Surgery

On the Today show Friday and then on an episode on Dateline Sunday night, I saw this story about teenagers who were opting to go under the knife to "fix" their looks because they were being bullied. Let me just say too, that the girl in this story was not horrific looking or deformed. According to the article:  "Before her plastic surgery, 15-year-old Renata was diagnosed with a condition which caused her nose to lean to the left."

Um... yeah, pretty sure my nose isn't perfectly straight either... and I realized a couple of years ago that my eyes aren't even either... I should probably get that surgically corrected too, so that people don't make fun of me.


What happened to helping teens realize that it's what is on the inside that counts? What happened to overcoming adversity and standing up for yourself? Nope, I guess it's just easier to have cosmetic surgery.

This blows my mind. I get it, we live in a tough world. Bullying is a huge problem for people of all ages, especially young adults who base so much of their self worth on the opinions of others. But isn't it the parent's job to help kids navigate these difficult times? What are we teaching them when we help them alter their appearance rather than deal with the bigger issue?

I was bullied as a kid. Isn't just about everyone at some point or another? I was overweight for many years, I've always been short, and I had an awful speech impediment that even some of my teachers made fun of. Yes, I went home and cried because "no one liked me" and "everyone was mean". And then I found real friends. Friends who liked me because of who I was, not because of how I looked or the way I talked. 

It breaks my heart to think about kids feeling that the only way to be liked by others is to look a certain way, and that if they don't look that way naturally they have to change themselves. Especially with something as radical as surgery. Elective surgery, on a growing body... a body that could grow out of that awkward phase on its own in just a few years.

I'm going to pull one of those parental "never will I ever" claims right now. Never will I ever help or support Fynn surgically alter her appearance, especially not if it's because of bullying. She needs to learn that sometimes in life there are mean, crappy people, and how to deal with them; not run away from them.

Did other people watch these shows? What did you think about it? Am I overreacting, or does this seem crazy to you too?


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