Teens and Cosmetic Surgery

I try and to be really polite to all my guests. I just think you’re dreadful and I honestly don’t want to talk to you any more, so I’m just going to stop.

This is the first time ever that Anderson Cooper stopped an interview mid-flow.
He was not talking to a war criminal, or an abortionist, or a cannibal, or a drugs baron, or a porn star, or a serial killer. His interviewee was one Sarah Burge, who actually prides herself upon being called The Human Barbie.
Not, I assure you, because she was the original model for the doll, or because she accidentally happens to look like her.
Be that as it may, Cooper probably wanted to see what the fuss was about; this pathetic British mother has now decided – well, actually she says her daughter Poppy did – to take the toddlers, tears, tantrums, and tiaras world by storm by vicariously taking part in it.
Apart from the many other disgusting things Burge has done (like injecting her older daughter with Botox in front of cameras and giving gifts like plastic surgery vouchers “for later”) she taught Poppy (who, in most photos, appears to be perfecting the “O” expression of her mouth) how to pole dance… when she was six years old.
Just for the record, Burge has spent more than £500,000 on her own surgical enhancements. The child’s mind has been diseased enough for her to say I can’t wait to be like Mummy with big boobs. They’re pretty.
This is an extreme case. But the insidious search for perfection is nonetheless about “catch them young”. The Onion wrote a brilliant satirical piece about this obsession some years ago.
Once upon a time, the story goes, there was a little girl called Norah. Although one of the meanings of her name is “the bright one”, she was too dim to realise that it was not the “family nose” that made her “not pretty”, but what she felt about it.

In a book aimed specifically at children, ostensibly to help them she over the “trauma”, “isolation” and “pain” of cosmetic surgery, Norah is therefore the patient who will undergo rhinoplasty.
Here, reconstructive surgery was not done in order to correct a medical condition such as when one fixes a deviated septum in the hopes of getting rid of chronic sinusitis or frequent migraines. Neither was it to straighten a nose broken in an accident. It was simply a way of making the child “look” as well as “feel” better… so that the Moon would not look upon her homely face and wish her Good Night half-heartedly.
Norah joins the queue of children who want to get boob jobs at twelve years old, to look “just like mummy”, and those who are dragged from aesthetician to dentist to manicurist to salon, to acquire the perfect complexion, teeth, nails and hair, because “looking good” is all that matters.
Unfortunately, this book was published (also) to teach children that there is to be “no shame” attached to having invasive surgery done to oneself, simply for looks’ sake. In this book, Norah is sad because she allows what she sees in the attitudes of others, to cloud her judgement of herself.
So, in steps Norah’s mother – who explains that “fixing” what is “right in front of her face”, will allow the Moon to see through to the child’s “inner beauty”. Ah! So this means that the qualities of a child, whose features are not perfectly aligned and symmetrical and is yet bestowed with the qualities of generosity, and empathy, will never be recognised for what she is – because of a kink in her nose.
Norah’s Mother, of course, like the aforementioned Poppy’s Mother, has had her nose done, too; and therefore is able to say, in all honesty, that the doctors will solve the child’s ‘problem’ ( a “big, broad, bulky bird beak”) just as they had solved hers… This, then, is a tale – but as we have seen, truth is far stranger than fiction.
In the spoof, Doctor Jessica Krieg, the author, insists that reconstructive, plastic, elective, or cosmetic surgery – call it what you will, is “something to make you even better instead of just barely good enough”.
Poppy’s mother and women like her, appear to think that this warped picture of reality would be commonplace in an ideal world.
Where does it leave the thousands of children who cannot get surgery done? Feeling inadequate, definitely, if they do not have the resilience to realise that they are much more than the sum of their facial features and body.
Another cosmetic surgeon, Michael Salzhauer, from Florida, has written a book (for real!) that he says will help children cope with the idea that a parent (usually their mother) will undertake a medical procedure to retain her looks.
“My Beautiful Mommy” indicates a muscle-bound superhero type of surgeon – called Michael, of course – who will help a girl’s mother fulfil her wishes. Before she undergoes surgery, the child’s mother explains spuriously that, as she got older, “…my body stretched and I couldn’t fit into my clothes anymore. Dr. Michael is going to help fix that and make me feel better.”
This is, quite simply, ridiculous if she can afford surgery, then she would have been able to afford a new wardrobe of larger clothes. No mention is made of healthy eating or exercise or the fact that whereas the doctor sculpts a new body, he cannot change the mind-set of the individual; the only solution given is the surgical one.
Which operation will fix a child’s self-esteem, when the tacit message is that the top priority is having imperfections removed, failing which, one would not remain attractive? The look of wonder and joy on the child’s face in the book’s cover says it all.
And the fact that a parent contemplating surgery would need a read-along book to get through to a child, says even more.