SURGERY FOR TEENS. IT’S NOT OK
Cosmetic surgery is one of those touchy subjects.
Glossy pictures of some actress with bee-stung lips, pert breasts and an unfurrowed brow are dissected as we try to determine whether she’s had any work done. Tut! Tut! from some of us, and each to their own from others.
What about when it’s your 16-year-old daughter? Is that okay too?
For me the answer to that question is an emphatic no. So imagine how I felt when my husband told me that his ex had not only allowed, but paid $5000 for, their daughter to have her ears pinned back.
There are so many reasons this news nauseated me, I don’t know where to start.
Sixteen-year-olds are obsessed with their physical appearance.
A solitary pimple that erupts the night before school photos or a hot date is enough to send them into a spin. In their imagination, that lone pimple assumes the proportions of a volcano which only copious dollops of Clearasil can have any hope of eradicating.
Sixteen-year-olds are no judge of the relative proportions of any part of their anatomy.
Surely part of our parental charter is to celebrate each of our children as unique and special people because of their imperfections not despite them?
My eldest has an interesting nose. All her life I have told her, “it’s what makes you, you”. Beauty is not airbrushed perfection; it is quirky, in the eye of the beholder, and often it is the very imperfection that makes a person truly beautiful rather than just plain pretty.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti cosmetic surgery. For the record, I’ve had a boob job.
A decision I made at 30 and an operation I paid for myself being single and happy about it at that time. What I was not happy about was wearing AA bras and never being able to wear a bikini or a shoestring dress. My decision, as an adult.
But I’d never touch my face. Partly because it is who I am, its lines and marks tell others how I’ve fared on the journey so far, how I think about life and how I think about myself. Plus, to be completely honest, I’m too scared something might go horribly wrong and turn me into a freak. Sticky out ears can be covered with hair. It’s a darn sight cheaper too.
But even when what our children hate about themselves can be remedied by a scalpel, is it okay to put a child under the knife for the sake of a vanity?
Doctors always warn that every operation carries with it the inherent risk of failure. Failing to live might be too high a price for the sake of a crooked nose or bat-like ears.
And if you end up with a nose that’s worse than the one you went under with, what then?
For a start, not all plastic surgeons are created equal and none of them is infallible. Things go wrong. Even if nothing goes wrong and the job is perfect, what if you don’t like the result? Imagine being stuck with a cute little upturn and missing your old hawkish schnozzle.
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