Giving the Abuser What he Wants….?

I honestly don’t know how to feel about this highly controversial and exponentially growing issue. Teens and Tweens being bullied to the point of plastic surgery. In other words “Hey everybody! Look it’s Pinocchio!” has resulted in “Hey Mom and Dad, I NEED a nose job”, and then actually getting one. Is this the message our society deems fit to tell young people who are bullied because of how they look? Or are we saying that emotional harm is just as damaging as physical harm and extreme measures must be taken sometimes (in this case plastic surgery) to fix it.

Nadia Iise is a 14-year-old high school student who had an otoplasty (ear job), a genioplasty (chin implant), and a rhinoplasty (nose job). This was all done to stop the bullying she had been experiencing since first-grade. Her mother was completely supportive and even found an organization that would do it for free, Little Baby Face Foundation.

A few months back I came across this story and instantly thought Nadia was throwing up her white flag and giving into the wishes of her abusers. She was picked on about her ears from a very young age, and kept her torment to herself. Nadia would cry herself to sleep, make up reasons to avoid going to school, and lacked confidence. She even contemplated suicide. So after many years of asking and begging for an otoplasty, her mother finally granted her wishes, and gave Nadia what she wanted.

I’m torn. Did she really give up the fight and say “Alright, alright. I look different, all you bullies are right, I’m giving you what you want, a ‘”normal” pair of ears.” Or is she saying “This emotional abuse is too much to take, it’s effecting my life. What are my options, no matter how drastic?” Yes she could have went for counseling and strengthen her self esteem, but is nipping the problem in the bud (no pun intended) more effective? Now she doesn’t have to worry about her ears (and nose and chin, which was suggested by the surgeon) ever again. Nadia no longer needs to look in the mirror and feel bad about how she look. She can proceed with confidence.

What does this say to young people, in particular, about image versus being a good person? I feel like our society places an unrealistic idea of how people should look and behave. Your weird because your hair line is took close to your eyebrows, your ugly because your nostrils are took big. I have always been an advocate of accepting and loving who you are. But I must be honest, I am starting to believe that feature alteration can be a valid form of treatment for a person suffering from extreme (on the edge giving up on life) emotional abuse. That being said, the person being abused must want the change, not to please the bullies, but because SHE wants to, because SHE would feel like a better person, because SHE thinks her ears are too big. Not because other people say so. I believe that in a way, it is no different from someone who’s deviated septum is taking a toll on their health and needs to be corrected.

Yes, I have pulled a Mitt Romney; I have not given a solid stance on a issue. I simply am torn by this topic. Let’s hear what you have to say about. Am I a Mean Girl, or am I part of the ‘love yourself’ group?

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3 Responses to Giving the Abuser What he Wants….?

  1. I think there’s no mistake about the fact that she changed her face because of the insecurities she faced, but I definitely think that area of insecurity was attacked by her peers and herself. I don’t want to belittle the difficulties of being bullied and losing all confidence in yourself, but I do think people can learn to love themselves for how they were born. So I would be with you on the “love yourself” group.

  2. Rashidah says:

    Interesting point. Perhaps our society is phasing out the “love yourself” attitude, to a “change yourself” society. How do you think people can learn to love themselves? Counseling? Positive reinforcement?

  3. Many teens feel that they are not good enough, pretty enough, or thin enough and do not measure up in some way. Plastic surgery should be used as a last resort rather than the first option. In severe cases surgery can help a teen in conjunction with talk therapy to help resolve the humiliation that comes with bullying. Corrective surgery alone cannot repair years of taunting which can leave deeper scars than any procedure. Give your child all of the tools needed to help with self-esteem including how to accept themselves and stand up for themselves and not to let others dictate how they should feel. Lisa Brateman, Psychotherapist, Relationship Specialist in New York City.

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