Teens Teased Into Plastic Surgery, Bullies Win Again


teen nose job plastic surgeryThis story about teens opting for plastic surgery to avoid being ridiculed by bullies about their looks is quite unsettling. In the news coverage, Elisabeth Hasselbeck talks to a couple of teenage girls who, because they were bullied over their appearance -- one for her pronounced nose, the other for her small chest -- decided to get plastic surgery. And, in one case, the parent consented to the surgery.

Why don't we just give bullies a golden throne and key to our children's souls while we're at it? And why don't we just tell our completely beautiful and healthy children, yes, indeed, something is truly wrong with you.

Around 90,000 teens underwent cosmetic surgery in 2007 for one reason or another. The most common procedures were nose jobs, breast reductions, breast augmentations, ear tucks, and, possibly most unbelievable, Botox. This is mind boggling to me, and the idea that doctors let alone parents would co-sign for a radical, unnecessary surgery is sending the wrong message.

Don't get me wrong. These stories about teens suffering from being teased and, in turn, experiencing incredibly low self esteem and feeling ugly and unworthy are completely heartbreaking. The girl shown above -- who was as beautiful before the surgery as she is after -- actually tried to break her own nose one night by slamming her face into a wall. At that point, her mother felt the only way to give her daughter a chance to feel confident again was to allow her to have plastic surgery.

Here's the news story:

But let's really think about this ... How can we, as parents, believe that plastic surgery is a "solution" to bullying or a "solution" to our kids' feelings of inadequacy? Talk about giving bullies the upper hand and blaming the victim! This, in no way, attempts to deal with the emotional matters behind a bully's behavior, nor does it teach the teen who hates herself the important life lesson of resilience.

We are still so ill equipped in this country at dealing with teen problems on an emotional level -- take what happened in Arizona last weekend as an extreme example. We just don't know how to do it. We look for a quick fix solution. Sure, these girls are being allowed to "fix" their exteriors; however, how will they deal with the next "problem" that gets pointed out to them? How far can it go? How will they learn to stand up? To love themselves for who they are? To see that perfection and pleasing everyone is impossible? How will they ever be able to stop and realize that changing your appearance to please others will never help you truly feel good about yourself?

And, as for the bullies, left unaddressed, they'll just move on to their next victim, leave more anguish in their path, and never come to realize they do what they do because they, too, are hiding something they can't bear for others to see.

What do you think? Does allowing teens to get plastic surgery send the wrong message to our teenagers? And to bullies?


Image via ABCNews

bullies, teens, high school, in the news


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2love 2love

I'm only 22 but I'm gonna dare to say back in the day when i was in school we didn't get ran over by bullies, we fought back. IDK Why it's such a huge thing now suddenly the kids are huge pushovers.

nonmember avatar kalmmom

I don't know about going for nose jobs and such but I went to school with a VERY well endowed girl - she was also very short and her chest size caused her much pain and the bras she had to wear cut her shoulders. She had them reduced to alleviate the back problems she was already starting to have at 16-17 yrs old, that I can understand. The rest, we truly do need to teach our children that they are beautiful inside and out and how to stand up for themselves, but sadly bullying is never going to end.

PonyC... PonyChaser

We live in a culture that rewards children for everything - at the moment, I'm fighting a battle to NOT hand out a trophy to every single Cub Scout who enters the Pinewood Derby, and to every single pee-wee wrestler who shows up at a tournament.  Certificates of Participation? Sure - proof that they were there to put in the scrapbook, I have no problem with that.  But a trophy means that you did something special and earned it.  Showing up doesn't do that.

But people are screaming that I'm unfeeling, that I'm not supporting their "self esteem" and a bunch of other crap.  But what are those "trophies for showing up" doing? They're certainly not building self-esteem, they're praising kids for being adequate.  They're getting a reward just for showing up.

I see the same problem here... instead of teaching our kids to look a bully in the face and say, "Sticks and Stones", or "Sit down and shut up, at least I don't break mirrors when I look in them" or whatever retort kids deliver these days, we're teaching them that the bullies have just as much right to be there as they do.  And I'm sorry, they DON'T.

It's sad that the bullies "caused" these girls to go to such extremes.  I think the parents of the girls needed to give their girls coping skills from the very beginning.  And this is coming from a girl who was teased from day one because I have a curvy figure.

there... theresaphilly

Yup the bullies are going to win this one. When these kids get back to school, they are going to find something else to bully them about, something they cannot change! Better keep their surgeon on speed dial.

momns... momnstepmom

I blame the parents for their children wanting plastic surgery. I was bullied in school, but it was mostly because I was well-endowed (still am, only more so because of having kids) and smart. It was mostly by girls who didn't like their boyfriends asking me to help them on school, and from boys who wanted something more and I wouldn't go that far. If parents stepped up to the plate and taught their kids to have SELF-RESPECT then bullies wouldn't be so prominant and there would be no kids getting plastic surgery. I applaude PonyChaser for her efforts to build that same sense of self-confidence in her local Boy's Scouts and pee-wee Wrestling team and hope that she wins in her battle. I think MORE parents should be like her in supporting their kids self-respect instead of worrying about hurting their feelings.

And by the way, I'm the first one to tell my kids when they have done a good job and the first one to comfort them by saying "maybe next time" when they loose at something they tried really hard at achieving. Not once did I complain about them not getting an award for trying. My kids are better for it because they can now accept critical critisicm and they evaluate their actions better than their counterparts who are, in my opinion, babied. Let kids BE kids people! Let your babies cry when there isn't anything wrong with them, let your kids loose every now and then, support them as they figure out who they are instead of pampering them!

Tiffany Fisher

anyone think her face looks like crap now?

Marwill Marwill

I also went to school with a very petite girl who had a huge chest.  Reduction surgery was necessary for that poor girl.  She was miserably uncomfortable.  Other than that, or severe problems like cleft lip, I don't see why a teen should have plastic surgery.  Maybe if there were scarring as a result of an accident.

Merry Blubaugh

teasing / bulling is part of high school it makes you a better person. you are always going to have to deal with some sort of a**hole in life weather it be a pier a teacher or a boss. that is life deal with it and move on.

Sabrina Thoreson

I agree 100% with what both 2love and ponychaser said.  My kids think they can make their own sticker charts and tell ME that we're taking them to Chuck E Cheese once they're filled up.  They get 2 for cleaning their rooms, stickers for brushing their teeth, etc. I told them no way are they getting stickers (and that many) for doing things they are SUPPOSED to be doing...they need to go beyond that to EARN them.  My husband things I'm being "momzilla".  Our son cried and didn't join wrestling again cause "waaa I didn't get a trophy." I told him it's too bad he's giving up. That he needs to keep trying, do his best, and win [so many] matches to EARN a trophy.  The medal they handed out to EVERY kid who wrestled (reglardless of how they did) wasn't enough for him. Even the couple years ago I was in school bullies didn't rule.  If they tried they got their asses kicked and put in their place.  I think parents are letting kids act spoiled, get what they want, and aren't teaching them good self esteem OR how to stand up for themselves.

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