It all started with Dumbo. Everyone knows kids are cruel and will hone in differences. But rather than ignoring taunts, one girl went under the knife to silence her bullies.
Now 14, Nadia Isle had always been teased for having “elephant ears.” Her mom took matters in her own hands when her daughter begged to have surgery on her ears. At age ten, she enlisted the help of a non-profit called the Little Baby Face Foundation, which pays for plastic surgery for kids with “facial deformities.”
Questionable whether Nadia's ears qualified as a "deformity." Still, the surgeon then decided she needed even more work and took it upon himself to make some other corrections.
“I love thin chins, but I don’t want it as pointy as that chin,” said head of the organization, Dr. Thomas Romo III. He threw in a nose job for good measure. All in all, it's estimated that the four-hour surgery cost around USD$40,000.
Nadia was elated and looks forward to facing her bullies at school in September. “I look beautiful. This is exactly what I wanted. I love it.”
But is surgery really the solution to bullying? One dad compared it to any other back-to-school self-improvement ritual: braces, new shoes... Teen plastic surgery is on the rise, particularly in the U.S. where an estimated 219,000 procedures were performed on teens in 2010. And the kids going under the knife are getting younger and younger.
South Dakota Samantha Shaw also had her ears pinned back. She was just seven.
Ironically Nadia's suggestions for parents of bullied teens is to give them "a lot of love and affection and tell them that they’re beautiful every single day.” Seems her own wisdom wasn't enough for her.
Whatever happened to accepting yourself as you are, 'flaws' and all? At least that's what Erica was taught. Does this advice no longer apply in an age when appearance, especially for young girls, means everything?