Children and Plastic Surgery

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Making fun of a child for the way he or she looks is just about the lowest form of bullying there is, especially when the taunting and teasing lead to severely extreme measures. 14-year-old Nadia Ilse was profusely mistreated by her peers because she did not look “normal” to them. The teen wished to have an otoplasty, which is plastic surgery for the ears to pin them back so they will not stick out. She was taunted with names like “Dumbo” or “elephant ears”. Ilse has said that she was an outgoing child, but gradually became more anti-social as she grew older. Nadia Ilse was able to make her wish a reality when the non-profit organization, Little Baby Face Foundation, paid $40,000 for her to undergo reconstructive surgery. Ilse did not just have her ears pinned back, but her doctor insisted that she also reshape her chin and decrease the size of her nose.

Now, this is the part where I throw my two cents in. First of all, I am happy that Nadia Ilse was able to gain the confidence she always wanted, but reconstructive surgery seems like a pretty drastic way to go. She is a 14-year-old girl and at that age everyone is going through changes and experiencing an awkward phase. Did it never occur to her parents or to her doctors that maybe she wasn’t finished growing? Perhaps she had not hit her growth spurt yet and the rest of her just had not caught up. Secondly, the fact that she was bullied to the point that she felt she had to change herself is just sad. It’s devastating when people of the same age and in the same sort of situation feel like they need to belittle each other just to feel better about themselves. The root of the problem was not how Ilse’s ears looked, but it was the insensitive little children that thought it was so funny to pick on a girl that has never done them any sort of harm. Society sends mixed signals because we are supposed to accept the way we are and love ourselves, but then these unattainable, perfect images are force fed to everyone through the media. I also do not understand why Ilse’s doctor would suggest that she had even more imperfections that needed to be mended. Way to make someone feel even worse when they go in to have surgery on their ears and the doctor tells them, “Well, we might as well fix your nose and chin while we’re at it”.

It angers me because Nadia Ilse basically let the bullies win. By having that surgery she might as well have said, “You are right. I need to change myself to suit you and you aren’t the problem here. I am”. It’s upsetting that she thought anything was wrong with her that needed to be fixed. Also, there are children out there that have it worse off than Ilse did. Why couldn’t some of that money have gone to a child with a severe deformity? Confidence comes from within and if you don’t love yourself, then no one else will be able to. I only wish this 14-year-old girl would have realized that she did not need to change herself and she was perfect the way she was before plastic surgery.


  1. Jiawen Pek says:

    Exactly. To undergo cosmetic surgery is to reaffirm the taunts of the other kids, and works to reinforce harmful conceptions and notions of what it means to look “normal”, rather than address the assumptions and prejudices of the kids. While it is good that she managed to gain confidence, it begs at the deeper question of whether she has relinquished her individuality for other definitions of normality and authenticity (of looks).

  2. very good article

  3. Reconstructive surgeries are design not make people normal again and even if the aesthetic use of plastic surgery is more popular, this other use is more appreciated by its patients.
    A person that has a breast augmentation surgery is happy because she is more attractive but one that has reconstructive surgery is normal again and the feeling of satisfaction in way more powerful.
    I recently saw some before and after plastic surgery pics that made me understand why some people really need it.

  4. I agree to your point that Confidence come from within and it is our inner beauty that matter. Also children who are bullying her need to be sensitive as they don’t have any right to tease for their looks.

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