Friday, April 15, 2011

Fixing Samantha: Beauty, Imperfection, and Cowardice

Seven-year-old Samantha Shaw of South Dakota recently underwent cosmetic surgery to "fix" her ears, which stuck out a bit and one had a small fold. Her mother claims it was to prevent future bullying. There had apparently been comments made in front of the girl by kids and adults about her ears, and her mother decided it would be a good idea to alter the "problem." As cosmetic surgery is rather expensive, the Little Baby Face Foundation covered the cost, and the doctor who performed the surgery was quoted as saying Samantha's surgery was not cosmetic but necessary. (If you go to Little Baby Face, the "deformities" they usually cover are listed, things like cleft palettes, for instance. Not usually ears that stick out.)

Am I the only one who sees a serious problem with all this? Her mother has, by doing this, stated unequivocally to her child that anytime the outside world finds fault with her, she should alter herself in any way possible to "fix" it. This sort of belief system is the basis of eating disorders and women who stay in abusive relationships. The problem is not the girl or her ears. The problem is the bullies.

Why is it that we are so ready to alter the world to suit those who are in the wrong? Samantha Shaw should not be made to feel that she is somehow defective because others find her imperfect. The defect lies in the bullies and ignorance of the people who made her feel this way. Instead of seeking out the surgery, maybe her mother should simply have stood up for her daughter when these comments were made instead of taking the coward's way out. Catering to the ignorant will only make it easier for them to operate. She should have taken the opportunity to teach her that no one is perfect, but everyone is beautiful in some way--even the bullies.

1 comment:

S. Russell said...

I agree.

The problem is the bullies. I'm in Counseling Theories right now, and the current theory we are working on is Glasser's Reality Therapy. It's all about changing yourself so that you can have better relationships with others. I hate it.

That said. Sebastian's adult teeth are coming in and they look just like mine. As a parent, I have already asked the dentist when we can address the stains that garnered me names like Ms. Buttertooth. He does not yet realize that they aren't the "norm" and probably never will, because we'll have them fixed (just like a cavity) before anyone points it out.

Despite the way the world SHOULD be, we have to live in it the way it actually is, but work on changing it in the ways we can - which is why I'm back in school to be a counselor.