More Kids Seek Plastic Surgery to Solve Bullying
Getting plastic surgery as a result of being bullied seems to be on the rise among American teens in recent years. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), in 2010 alone, nearly 219,000 cosmetic surgeries were performed on people between the ages of 13 and 19.
Last month we covered a story about a 15-year-old girl who refused to go to school or be seen in public because she was bullied for her appearance. And not too long ago, a 14-year-old girl was bullied about her appearance so much that she sought plastic surgery as a solution.
Nadia Ilse, 14, received the procedures with help from the Little Baby Face Foundation—a charity that provides free corrective surgery to children born with facial deformities—last year before school started up again and says she is much more confident this school year.
“A lot of people said that I looked different and that I was really beautiful, I’m excited about that,” said Nadia to NBC Nightline after her first day of high school.
“I believe in forgiveness, but I will never forget the times that they did that, the times they made fun of me, and the times they hurt me,” she said of those who bullied her in the past. “You have to make them earn it.”
CNN reported that Nadia was called “Dumbo” and “elephant ears” by her classmates and it got so unbearable that she begged her mother at the young age of 10 for an otoplasty—an operation to pin back the ears.
The Little Baby Face Foundation offered Nadia a consultation last year and approved her for an otoplasty, a reduction rhinoplasty—reducing the size of the nose—and a mentoplasty—altering the shape of the chin. The organization covered the estimated $40,000 cost of the surgeries.
The organization’s founder, Dr. Thomas Romo, III, told ABC Nightline that Nadia’s case met the foundation’s criteria of facial deformities to have the corrective surgeries, although her deformities may not appear extreme to the naked eye.
“She wasn’t picked to have her surgery because she was bullied,” Romo told Nightline. “She was picked for her surgery because of her deformities and we could correct that surgically. If that helps her from getting bullied, thank you, God. No one is going to get accepted through the foundation because they don’t like the way they look.”
Vivian Diller, a psychologist and author of Face It: What Women Really Feel as Their Looks Change, questions whether plastic surgery is the right thing to do in bullying situations. She wrote in an article the following:
A solution to bullying that involves surgical procedures (which have their own set of physical risks that few talk about) is a terrible message to give both bullies and their victims. Do we really think that changing physical features undoes the emotional damage created by being teased? And aren’t we validating the very message behind bullies’ actions, that diversity and variation is bad? We need to be encouraging young people to admire and embrace differences—and that starts from an early age.
Diller adds that charities such as Little Baby Face Foundation should reserve their treatments for children with serious facial deformities—such as those born with genetic defects or endured disfigurement as a result of a trauma.
What do you think about young kids having cosmetic surgery? Is it a potential solution for bullied kids or a dangerous trend?