Is Plastic Surgery the Solution to Bullying?

14-year-old Nadia Ilse received a donation of plastic surgery to pin back her ears after living through years of cruel bullying. The plastic surgeon suggested a nose job and chin work too.

Nadia said that she was outgoing and happy as a child, but all that changed in first grade when the cruel taunting began. Non-stop bullying made Nadia anti-social and depressed. She begged her mother for an operation to "fix" her ears. With some internet research, they found an organization that provides free plastic surgery to children with facial disfigurement. She was granted an all-expenses paid trip to New York and a donation of plastic surgery.

Nadia originally applied for a procedure to pin back her ears. After examining her, the doctor spotted some other areas that he felt could be improved, namely her chin and her nose.

Now there is no doubt that this doctor has done some admirable work and his intention is to improve childrens' lives. But let's not forget that Nadia suffered daily humiliation because kids were ruthless in their crriticisms of her looks. So something just doesn't sit right when an adult--a doctor--says, "I love thin chins, but I don't want them as pointy as that chin," pointing directly at Nadia's "pointy" chin for CNN's cameras.

Sanjay Gupta asked Nadia the million dollar question: "There are people who would say, 'Nadia, you don't need to do this. This was just the way you were born. People should love people for who they are.' What do you say to those folks?"

"I say that they're right," Nadia answered. "But it'll never stop. It'll just keep going--get worse and worse."

Bullying is traumatic and it can have a lasting effect on self-esteem and confidence, but middle school and high school are arguably the worst of times when it comes to the cruel taunting. The "It Gets Better" campaign was built around the idea that if you can get through your teen years, there is hope, happiness and even self-acceptance at the end of the tunnel. When things are really, really bad, it can seem like they can only get worse. You can't blame Nadia for wanting a solution to her pain. But is surgery the right solution? Shouldn't we be focusing on "fixing" the bullies instead of the bullied? Do kids need makeovers or is it our perfection-obsessed culture that needs some work done?

What do you think?

cmysko's picture


lizzie.f's picture

It's nice to see Nadia's feelings about her beauty shift so positively. However, I think it's terrible that our society pressures people to fit such a specific mold that she -and the bullies, and even the surgeon- thought she wasn't beautiful in the first place. In a way, "fixing" Nadia and others reinforces our ridiculous societal beauty "guidelines".
Adam's picture

That's a great point, Lizzie.f! Thanks for posting that. I agree with you in that it is definitely a slippery slope. I do give Nadia much credit for having the courage to share her story so authentically on national television, and am glad to see that she is taking a stand against bullying.
alvinabias's picture

I put highlights in my hair in high school. Most store brand highlight kits only come in blond so that was what I used. Later on I just bought red hair dye and applied it like highlights. My natural hair color is dark brown and it gets red in the sun. I had my hair professionally dyed black. It was cute at first then I got tired of it.
sharon77's picture

I definitely agree with the question at the end of the article that we should be fixing the bullies instead of the bullies. Yes, if someone was in a car accident or has a severely disfigured body feature, plastic surgery can be amazing. A friend of mine had to have breast reduction because the size of her breasts were way too large for her small frame and they were giving her tremendous back problems. However, I personally don't see anything that's dramatically wrong or noticeable on Nadia's face that would require surgery. There needs to be more anti-bully education in schools, otherwise we will be creating a problem from a problem! Plastic surgery can easily get out of hand, as seen by many unfortunate cases in Hollywood and the like.
marty789's picture

It's a big no! For me, the best solution of being bullied is that make your self be proud of and be always ready for all who wants to bully you. You don't have to hide yourself for somebody.

shesistable's picture

you are amazing. this article really has a lot of information. this is what i have been looking for. keep it up. hoping to see more post from you in the future.

badoky's picture

Bullying is everywhere, i hope it already stop.

iamcubs's picture

We should stop bullying, Plastic surgery doesn't matter we should stop it. Thank you for this article I learned a lot.


How many times per week do you see ads for "bikini bodies"?

get help