Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

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    Default Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

    So I am really interested in having a discussion about this article, about a girl who was bullied for her appearance, and an organization that gives kids like her free plastic surgery to "fix" the things that are "wrong" with their appearance so kids will stop bullying them:

    Autostraddle — Changing Face: The Ethics Of Free Plastic Surgery For Bullying Victims

    I basically agree with what the author of this says: that it feels a lot like victim-blaming, like the kid's appearance is the problem rather than the asshat kids bullying her for it. A lot of kids that age look gawky as they're growing into their unique features, and it kind of bugs me just how different she looks in the second photo, how much more...average and conventionally-pretty she looks. She looks like a completely different person. It's kind of creepy to me.

    But as the author also points out, it's kind of idealistic to assume teenagers will stop bullying because someone lectured them on how everyone's face is different and people need time to grow into their features blah blah blah. Maybe she just feels that as long as the bullying stops, it doesn't matter how we do it.

    Personally, the implications of this bug me far more though. I hope this doesn't become commonplace. People who have the money to be giving kids free plastic surgery could be spending it to do better things to address the problem of bullying in our schools - things that actually target the bullies rather than the victims.

    (Mods: I apologize if, as a debate thread on ethics this is more of a Campaign Bus topic, but I figured it fit better here since this isn't really about politics.)
    Last edited by Misato Katsuragi; 4th August 2012 at 10:23 AM.

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    Default Re: Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

    It's ALSO idealistic to assume that they'll stop bullying you because you change your appearance. Once they smell blood, no amount of trying to pass yourself as one of them will deter them.
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    Default Re: Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

    I think this is good. It will help prevent people bullying her for her looks. Bullying is a terrible thing to go through, I went through it when I was younger because I was overweight, when I lost weight and reached my ideal weight and even got a bit toned, the bullying stopped. She's much hotter now too, I wouldn't date the first girl, but would date the 2nd one.

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    Default Re: Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

    I think this is stupid. 14 is way too young to be having surgery, especially as the girl is still growing. As it was said above, this is not going to stop bullying at all.

    A friend of mine had cosmetic surgery on her nose because she was bullied about the size of it, and she may be happy with her nose, but she still gets bullied about it, perhaps even more now than before the surgery. Why should someone have to change their appearance just because someone says something about it? I understand people may have low self esteem about their bodies, but this is really teaching the wrong lessons.

    Even when Nadia goes back to school, does she really want the people who mocked her to be her friends? I certainly wouldn't. And the surgeon really didn't make the situation any better, pointing out "flaws" that Nadia didn't even think about herself before and "correcting" them.
    Last edited by Oswin; 4th August 2012 at 08:19 AM.

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    Default Re: Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by PkmnGreen View Post
    And the surgeon really didn't make the situation any better, pointing out "flaws" that Nadia didn't even think about herself before and "correcting" them.
    I know; that's the part that bothered me the most. He may as well have said, "Those kids who bullied you? Not only were they right, but they missed a few things."

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    Default Re: Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

    I think that is a terrible idea. Not only does it sound like they are blaming the victim for being bullied by her looking the way she does, they are literally only taking care of the problem superficially. She needs emotional support from the people around her, not some idiotic surgery that may do more harm than good. Her douchebag schoolmates sound like the kind of people who will not drop the bullying and may find something else to torment her with. :(
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    Default Re: Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

    Did they force her to get this surgery? If she made the choice to get it, I don't see the problem with it. It won't deter the most hardcore fucked up bullies, but from personal experience, a little effort into looking better goes a long way towards getting people to leave you alone.

    It's a difficult situation for me to take sides in, as I've been on both sides of the issue and I'm one of those "if you can do something to make yourself feel better, do it" people.

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    Default Re: Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caitlin View Post
    Did they force her to get this surgery? If she made the choice to get it, I don't see the problem with it.
    Completely on her own free will, a charity offered to pay it for her, and they paid for the extra ones the doctor offered as well.

    It won't deter the most hardcore fucked up bullies, but from personal experience, a little effort into looking better goes a long way towards getting people to leave you alone.

    It's a difficult situation for me to take sides in, as I've been on both sides of the issue and I'm one of those "if you can do something to make yourself feel better, do it" people.
    Agree completely, as I said, I was overweight and plagued by acne, not a day went by when I didn't get insults. Until I finally had enough and went on a diet, cutting out greasy foods, and using high strength spot cream. Eventually I was toned healthy weight and had almost perfect skin. After that the bullying stopped. Was it right they bullied me for my appearance no, but did I feel a lot better about myself and regain my confidence after making this change, hell yes. No amount of campaigning or Gaga singing Born this way, will ever stop bullying, as sad as that is. While in an ideal world no one would get bullied, we don't live in an ideal world, and denying kids the chance to escape bullying, or even if it doesn't work, then the opportunity, denying them that, just because it doesn't fit with some Disney style moral of the story theme is beyond cruel, as you know the bullying will continue.

    It's very easy for people to sit on here and write stuff like, don't worry about the bullies, be yourself etc, but it's not that easy, kids are driven to suicide because of it because they just have their confidence and self worth ground into nothing.

    Obviously no bullying in the world would be lovely to have, but because this Utopia doesn't exist we're left to make real decisions, and I'd rather kids change minor aspects, than continue to endure bullying, ruining their lives and possibly contemplating suicide.

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    Default Re: Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

    Absolutely not. As a bullying victim myself I can say that although improving yourself is a good way to beat bullies, you shouldn't have to. You should be able to be however you are and not be bullied for it. Teaching kids that changing themselves via surgery is ever "the answer" is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing even if they are disfigured or "abnormal". No, it's not easy to accept yourself and beat bullies. But I've been there, and I know in myself that telling kids it's okay to get cosmetic surgery at a time when they are already in a situation likely making them emotionally imbalanced and fragile is ass backwards. I fear for a society that tells bullying victims that changing their appearance via surgery might be the answer rather than ignoring the assholes who are picking on them.

    Bottom line, the problem here is that bullies and inner demons (low self esteem, for example) will always find something on the outside to prey on. The only way you can protect yourself is to accept yourself as you are from within, then superficially too. Changing a symptom/current focus of negative attention/something you wouldn't have been insecure about if others hadn't made you that way won't give you true confidence/satisfaction. Only self acceptance regardless of your appearance will. If you're healthy, you shouldn't want to change yourself regardless in my opinion.
    Last edited by Kaori; 4th August 2012 at 05:54 PM.
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    Default Re: Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Therian View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Caitlin View Post
    Did they force her to get this surgery? If she made the choice to get it, I don't see the problem with it.
    Completely on her own free will, a charity offered to pay it for her, and they paid for the extra ones the doctor offered as well.
    You say that like she has the ability to decide to have surgery herself. She's 14 years old, she can't consent to a surgery without her parents' approval - regardless of who is paying for it.

    Also, your post in general is missing the point that @Evil Figment; gave, which is: Is this really going to stop the bullying? Kids who are out for blood will look for any excuse to pick on someone. For all you know, they're going to decide she's "shallow" now that she's had the surgery, and pick on her for that. (She wouldn't be the first girl her age picked on as "shallow" for getting plastic surgery.)

    And think about the implications for this. If it's generally accepted now that the solution to bullying is to change what is getting you bullied, where does it end? What about kids who are picked on for their appearance who don't want to get plastic surgery (or have wiser parents than this girl's, who step in and refuse to let them get it)? If kids are being picked on for being gay, should they have to hide that, and not be allowed to hold hands with their boyfriend/girlfriend in the hallway like kids in opposite-sex relationships can? If kids are being picked on for their intelligence, should they have to hide their smarts? If kids are being picked on for their religion, should they not be allowed to express it (within the bounds of existing school rules about it)? What if a kid is being picked on for his or her gender or race? The whole notion that it's the victim's fault to alleviate the bullying is ridiculous, because not only is it not fool-proof, it's just not possible.

    You're going to have to face the fact that, while it's not perfect, the solutions from the "Born This Way" crowd are, at the end of the day, more effective than this one. If you create an environment where kids are more accepting, there will be less bullying at least for the things they accept. At my high school, acceptance of other religions and religious beliefs was promoted to the extent that people who were intolerant wouldn't send their kids there (it was a school-of-choice) and, as a result, people weren't picked on for being gay, or for belonging to a non-Judeo-Christian faith and wearing signs of those beliefs (like the hijab for Muslim girls), like they were at the middle school I attended which was composed largely of the type of fundamentalist Christians who like to impose their beliefs on others*. Creating an environment where people are not picked on for certain things is not impossible. It has been done. Of course, some of it requires some accountability from the community. Adults can't condemn bullying on one hand and then imply in front of their kids that someone else is less-than based on appearance, religion, sexuality, etc. on the other. Kids learn from adults.

    No solution is perfect, but as easy a fix as this plastic surgery thing may seem to be, it does not work and the implications make it hardly worth it anyhow.

    *just want to make clear I'm trying to distinguish between the subset who do these things, and Christians or even fundamentalist Christians in general
    Last edited by Misato Katsuragi; 4th August 2012 at 11:34 PM.

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    Default Re: Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

    I'm sorry Blue Monday, I disagree with everything you just said there. I don't know if you are talking from experience or not as you didn't say whether or not you had been bullied, but while the intentions are good behind things like Born this way, and other campaigns, they fail in practise.

    I would love for there to be no bullying, we all would, but unfortunately it's a part of life, just like racism and homophobia, sexism even, we can try our best to stamp it out but you we can't ever get rid of it.

    As you said yourself, the jackasses who are really intent on bullying won't be swayed, just because you tell someone, don't make fun of people's differences doesn't mean they will listen to you. The suicide rates amongst gay teenagers is still appallingly high despite campaigns from Stonewall, and the It Get's Better Campaign. While I think these campaigns have a wonderful message, at the end of the day it just a message, you can't force dicks to follow it.

    I think you're seeing this through Disney eyes, where theres a kid who gets bullied, and then all the bullies see the error of their ways and we all do a dance number in the school hall. The truth is for many, it doesn't work, and kids who "are themselves" get their confidence destroyed, their self worth destroyed, and many even contemplate suicide, and some even go through with it.

    I think IF SOMEONE PERSONALLY, are going through bullying and don't want to change, then good for them, I genuinely hope it works for them, and they are strong enough to handle it and pull through. But chastising parents who did the right thing and agreed to allow to have the surgery is not the way to go. Equally, blaming the charity is equally low.

    Both have come together to help provide an escape for this girl, in some cases it will work, in others it won't. But now their is a good chance the bullying will stop, it doesn't work all the time, but I have personal experience as do others, of it working. Also because she is pretty now it will give her self confidence a massive boost so even if they do continue bullying her (it's very rare for a good looking person to be bullied) her increased confidence will help her through it.

    Oh and before you suggest counselling to try and boost her confidence, I had 3 different counsellors none of them worked.

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    Default Re: Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

    A charity that actually wanted to help kids wouldn't delude them with the idea that you can change a part of yourself and everything will suddenly be better. There are things that you can't change, and any bully that knows the kid had surgery because of them will be satisfied further. It doesn't beat them; it empowers them.

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    Default Re: Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iteru View Post
    A charity that actually wanted to help kids wouldn't delude them with the idea that you can change a part of yourself and everything will suddenly be better. There are things that you can't change, and any bully that knows the kid had surgery because of them will be satisfied further. It doesn't beat them; it empowers them.
    Not true at all. You keep ignoring mine and Caitli's point that actually change does stop the bullying. The reason I feel so passionate about this and keep commenting so much is because I just get so angry when people who have no idea about bullying comment. I just feel that if I had followed your advice, I wouldn't be here posting today as suicide really did become an option. It was only because I was able to change myself that the bullying stopped. Is it right that I had to change myself NO! But in the end what would I prefer, to change, or to carrying suffering the bullying, I chose to change, and this is what she did too! And thank god that charity were willing to help!

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    Default Re: Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

    I can't keep ignoring anything because that implies I ignored it to begin with, and that I was actually replying to you, which I wasn't. At the end of the day I shared my opinion just as you have, and I think it would be best if we saw them as just opinions and nothing more.

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    Default Re: Free Plastic Surgery for Bullying Victims: Your Thoughts?

    I'm pretty sure this will only make the problem worse, and it destorys the "be yourself" moral. There's practically no way to stop bullying at all because it's in our blood. Even non-human creatures can be bullies because it's survival of the fittest. Natural Selection. Social Darwinism.

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