A recent story out of New York discusses kids turning to plastic surgery after being bullied. The story from the Fox affiliate, which you can read here, is a little misleading. From the title of the article, you’d think that kids are getting the kind of plastic surgery that first comes to mind when you think “plastic surgery.”
Sorry to disappoint you and your mental image of outlaw plastic surgeons doing boob jobs and tummy tucks on kids! This story highlights a very legitimate option for kids that are being bullied at school. Specifically, if they are being bullied because of “dumbo” ears or a big mole on their face, then plastic surgery can be a very responsible path to take.
There’s a psychologist in the story that talks of vagaries and platitudes such as the community coming together to stop bullying which is fine for a generational, decades-long fix for bullying but these kids that are being tormented due to a focal bodily issue don’t have that much time.
Often times, a “quick fix” has a negative connotation. And in this case, the psychologist suggests that fixing a child’s ears doesn’t fix the underlying problem of self confidence. Maybe she doesn’t have kids (although I don’t either), but she seems more out-of-touch with reality that I do.
Some kids have plenty of self-confidence but they still don’t like their prominent ears or other distracting facial feature. They don’t feel like being teased about it but that doesn’t mean they have low self-esteem. It’s fully possible that a self-confident child can also want surgery to fix the source of their torment! In a well-adjusted child that wants their ears pinned back or removal of a large hump on the nose, this type of surgery, in this context, is just what the doctor ordered.
I guess what aggravates me here, aside from the instigatory, disingenuous title of the story, is that the psychologist acts as though all kids that are bullied should wait for society to start playing nice…it would be just as ridiculous for me to suggest that all kids that are bullied get plastic surgery. Obviously I’m not advocating that. Clearly there are kids that are being bullied that may need to switch schools, have an intervention with parents and teachers, etc. But there are cases where kids that are doing well in school, have an adequate level of self confidence, could benefit from a so-called quick fix.