Is Going Under the Knife a Good Way to Avoid Bullying?
After enduring years of harassment, Nadie Ilse underwent plastic surgery to pin back her ears to stop bullying she had seen. Cosmetic plastic surgery is nothing new. It’s been around for a long time, but the story takes a completely different turn when it’s revealed that Ilse is only 14 years old. Yes, plastic surgery for kids. Childhood bullying traumatizes so many with lasting effects into adulthood, but is plastic surgery for childhood the way to go?
It seems to be getting more and more popular, with the rate of childhood plastic surgery going up 30 percent over the last decade and more than 90,000 children going under the knife in 2007.
14-Year-Old’s Plastic Surgery
Ilse is just one of the stories sparking the children plastic surgery debate. She was made fun of for her ears since the first grade, and she’s heard it all- “elephant ears,” “Dumbo,” etc. The bullying escalated to the point of begging her mom for plastic surgery, an urge which started at the age of ten, as the harassment “hurt so much,” she said. That’s when her mom found the Little Baby Face Foundation.
The Little Baby Face Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides free plastic surgery for children with “facial deformities,” such as tumors, cleft lips and malformations. Though it’s not specifically meant to help stop bullying, it does aim to lessen the potential trauma of bullying.
While under consultation with her doctor, he pointed out a crooked septum and a chin that needed mentoplasty to make her face symmetrical. The total of all the surgery came to $40,000- all which Ilse received for free, and now “feels beautiful.” Even so, she must still undergo counseling to work through the years of psychological trauma.
A 7-Year-Old’s Plastic Surgery Story
Samantha Shaw is another face in the debate over plastic surgery for kids. Shaw of South Dakota recently got plastic surgery to pin back her ears, similar to Ilse. What’s different about Shaw's story, besides Shaw’s younger age, is the circumstances under which occurred.
When asked if she has been bullied, Shaw said she hasn’t. Her mother actually said that the surgery was more preventative than anything, avoiding future bullying. She said the comments from other adults, rather than other children, were what inspired her to look up a means of pinning her ears back. Shaw also went to Little Baby Face Foundation.
Is Plastic Surgery for Children Right?
Dr. Steven Pearlman, a surgeon for the foundation in New York, performed the plastic surgery for free. Pearlman believes that ears that stick out go beyond a cosmetic issue, and that any physical anomaly can mean playground torture.
The debate has impassioned arguments on both sides. Part of children plastic surgery seems wrong- a child going under the knife because of their appearance? On the other hand, it has shown that bullying, especially due to physical appearance, can cause serious psychological harm. Is this a way to avoid bullying, or is it letting the bullies win?
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