formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Enough is Enough!

I wasn't going to post anything today because... well... I got nothin'.

Correction: I had nothin'...

I got home just now from the park to an email from my friend Todd, who's from London. The area of the city in which he lives has its own website, which is really cool... it's a forum for locals to talk about anything and everything, from politics to restaurants to things going on in the neighborhood. Todd found this notice on the website this morning...

"Hello everybody! I have not posted on the site in the past, but I wanted to ask if there is any body who has used a surgeon for breast implants - must be cheap as possible though. We wanted to give our daughter a surprise 16th birthday present and its what she always wanted. Many thanks for your help. A private email is fine if your shy!"

Assuming this is a sincere question (and it appears to be), I am very nearly speechless (and we know that doesn't happen often). I'm appalled. I'm angry. I'm disgusted. I'm so very sad.

As the mother of a 9-year-old girl, I'm all too aware of what's presented to young girls (and the rest of us) in the media as 'beautiful'. As a woman who has struggled most of my life with body image issues, I understand how it feels not to believe you're beautiful. As a woman whose mother has struggled with body image issues her whole life, I know all too well how important it is not to pass on that legacy.

When will our society finally see that what we are is enough? That being healthy should be what we strive for, not perfection? I'm not saying it's not important to look and feel beautiful... I believe it is. I'm not saying we shouldn't ever do things to enhance our appearances; things that make us feel good; things that make us feel pretty, especially as adults. That would make me a hypocrite. I color my hair because I'm not ready to be grey. I use anti-aging moisturizer because I'd like to look as young as I can for as long as I can. I wear make-up when I go out because I feel prettier when I do. But I'm 44. I'm in charge of my life. And deep down, I wish I didn't feel the need to do those things to feel better about myself.

When I was about 12, I asked my mother if she thought I was pretty. She replied, "Well, you're pretty when you smile." That statement embedded itself in my psyche and remains there, even today, some 30 years later. What I wanted her to say was, "Of course you're pretty! I think you're beautiful!" But what she did was put a condition on my beauty. Children and teenagers need to believe they are beautiful the way the are, without condition. They do not need their looks, body image, or self-esteem quantified or qualified in any way. They need to be told they're enough just the way they are and that their true beauty comes from being healthy and confident and accomplished and compassionate. And maybe, just maybe, if they can feel beautiful without enhancement when they're young, they will continue to feel that way when they're adults and in charge of their own lives, so that they won't want to slice and dice their bodies or faces in order to feel they're enough.

I want to cry for this girl. And I want to fly to London today, find her parents, and kick their asses, not just because they'd even consider an adolescent's request to surgically enhance her body (regardless of the risk to her life and long-term emotional health), but because they'd try to do it cheaply. My God.

38 comments:

Heather said...

I'm right there with you. We are bombarded on a daily basis with images that we are supposed to believe as true beauty. We wind up criticizing ourselves when we don't meet that standard - and it's 10 times worse for young women who haven't really found themselves or the beauty within themselves yet.
I had a friend in high school who's mother constantly told her she'd be so pretty if she'd just lose a few pounds. Know what? She turned anorexic. She lost a few pounds, alright. A few too many. She was sick, and I've always held her mother accountable.
I think our differences are what make us beautiful - if we all looked the same, where would we be? We need diversity.
I'm sad for this girl. That her parents are buying in to her false ideal of perfection - it will do her no favors in life. And that they want to do it as cheaply as possible? That's a certain way to ensure medical problems down the road.
Sorry for the long, ranting comment. :)

Tabitha in Bliss said...

AMEN!! I have a 13 y/o soon to be 14 and I teach her to love herself inside and out. I remind her that she's beautiful and SUPER intelligent, but what I love most is she Truly feels it. She knows that God created her in His image therefore, she's just as he wishes for her to be.

I use to dye my hair to hide the grey, but it keeps coming back within days. LITERALLY
So, I took that as a sign and am living in harmony with them. LOL

Great Post!!

Emma said...

That is outragous, don't they know she is still growing? and that the "cheapest" Dr could be the worst Dr? haha. I had implants put in this past summer for a number of reasons, some medical, but I am also in my twenties and knew I wasn't going to grow anymore and that mentally I was ready for it... these parents sound like they A>Need a reality check and B>Should have their children taken away

Jenera said...

It is one thing to have plastic surgery, dye our hair, wear contacts instead of glasses, dress nice, etc when we are ADULTS. But getting a boob job for your 16 year old is irresponsible and bad parenting in my eyes. I only have boys but I would not let them make major changes to their body at that age. At 16 bodies are still changing!

It definitely gives a wrong impression to youth today.

I'll hop that flight to london with you :)

Stu Pidasso said...

Although, beauty is only skin deep; a healthy self-image and is important....important enough to learn to love yourself no matter what.

I am fat (not overly fat, but fat enough), and though I fret on it sometimes it just isn't that big an issue for me. I know I am more than my reflection in the mirror.

Embrace yourself, indulge yourself, stroke your own ego! Dance your dance, sing your song and puke on someone else's shoes!

Mama Wheaton said...

Well said. I have 3 daughters and I have always told them they were beautiful just they way they are. 16 is way to young to consider such a step.

Shanna said...

Besides being wrong for all the reasons you mentioned it's just WEIRD that these parents are too lazy to do the research themselves. If they're going to get their daughter this surgery I would think they should do the leg work and find the BEST doctor - themselves. Not rely on some city forum for their information.

I waited until I was done having kids before I decided to have mine done (yes, my 'dirty little secret'). Not only did I want to be sure it was what I wanted but I wanted everything to be intact for when I had my babies. My girls know I had it done for me. Not to impress anyone else. At 16 I think this girl is doing it for everyone but herself.

Annie K said...

Can I go with you to London? I'll pack my own 'can'.

blognut said...

I'd be happy to go to London with you to help find them and kick their asses. I think that's the most appalling thing I've heard yet today.

BTW Diane, you are beautiful.

Heather, aka Jake's Mommy said...

If we're keeping the profanities away today, all I can muster is a wow ... and maybe some initials- WTF?!

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Diane, I scarcely need to comment, because you will know I would be totally with you on this - IMO there is far too much emphasis these days on what is perceived as physical perfection, without actually dealing with the mental health issues going on behind the "I hate myself because...of my low self esteem, not my nose/breast size. etc..."

This is a child, FGS, and it's a risky, unnecessary procedure to put her through, unless we are intent to be a society only interested in creating Barbie-style, 'airhead', beauty clones, which seems to be the sad and disgusting way we are headed...

And yet, I am very sorry to say, we seem to be but voices in the wilderness in society at large these days.

I feel for young girls like Ryan today, because of the pressures that the behaviours of their peers will put upon them to conform to what is an unreal stereotype of perverted beauty.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

And, to echo others, Diane, you are beautiful, and I want to slap mothers who place caveats on their children's attraction - It is tantamount to cruelty and as unacceptable as a smack these days is.

Jane! said...

I say we take up a collection to put you on that airplane!

Unbelievable.

Christine Gram said...

This is horrifying. I hope they get the same response from any surgeon that they come across.

mo.stoneskin said...

That is horrific. Beggars belief.

Guessing this is the Todd that you thought was me...

Rachel Cotterill said...

I'd offer to get on a train to London & do it for you, but Todd is (presumably) closer already. That is unbelievable.

I wear makeup sometimes - but an odd twist of fate meant I got married without any on, which I hold up as proof of how unimportant that kind of **** is, because it was still the most 'beautiful' day of my life :)

Mel said...

Oh jeez, I don't even know what to say to this. You know the way I feel, though, so I don't need to say anything, I guess. But, really, they're going to do it, but they want to do it cheaply? If they choose to do this for their daughter, it looks like the most important thing they'd be looking for is to do it healthily. I guess they've already screwed the pooch on that, though. That girl's going to end up looking like Tara Reid!

Michelle said...

Yes to all....and in addition to this my daughter only started growing her quite considerable bust when she was 16!

For gods sake people, let children grow up in their own good time.

Blu said...

How strange I just named my last posting Not Perfect. If this is serious and not some plonker messing about than it is sad. However I am not totally shocked. Some parents seem to dress their tiny young daughters like dare I say it prostitutes. Children need to be children, and teenagers need to grow. She hasnt finished growing, and they and any doctor should realise this..

Lee said...

One of the things people forget when they have augmentations, dental work, jaw realignments and all the other cosmetic work, is that the genes that provided those features remain unchanged. Perhaps acceptance counselling should be compulsory.

Michelle said...

Totally horrifying!!!

Being 16 years old is hard enough, why why why???

To me, everybody is beautiful!!!

It's who you are on the inside that counts anyway!!!! If you are beautiful and confident inside, it glows and shows on the outside!!!

Shame on those parents!!!

Coachdad said...

Wow. Incredible to say the least. Someone should call CPS on those parents.

Julie said...

Let's hop the plane together.

Sadly, there will be a surgeon who will do it. After all, the parents are giving permission.

Sad.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

But beauty is conditional.

I worked with a redhead once - physically stunning and far too desirable - but when she was angry, she spat venom and I have never seen someone look so evil and so ugly.

Lisa said...

yes, appalled am i my friend.
what message does that give the child in question about her parents and their thoughts towards her ?
jeebus !!
and cheap too..........
cheap would be buying the kid an incecream cake and a copy of Little Women............
Jeebus x

blueviolet said...

When I read that, my eyes widened in shock and horror. I can't help but feel as if it's too late for her because if her parents themselves are pursuing that course, then her sense of who she is has probably been warped from day one. What a shame, a horrible shame.

Jenners said...

I second that emotion. The thing that got me even more was the cheaply! Not only are you encouraging your daughter to undergo this surgery at a very young age but you want to cut costs while doing so. People don't seem to get that plastic surgery is SURGERY. I don't think you want to cut corners. I mean, look at Kayne West's mom -- she died while undergoing "routine" plastic surgery. And it makes me wonder if this is something the girl actually wants or her mom/dad/parents want FOR her. Pretty messed up. I'll help chip in for those airline tickets so you can straighten them out!

gwenlyn said...

More and more I'm so glad you are Ryan's mom! The graphic on this post is perfect and I went to the NOW website and will post it on our refrigerator (which our three girls open frequently!)

And thanks for the "coffee table" story! Nice job, Mom!

cassette45 said...

Wow. Just wow. That's incredible. I've friends who have gotten Lasik and Rhinoplasty for college graduations and I thought that was a bit out there. Implants for a 16 yr old? Wrong.

Braja said...

God, as if kids weren't enough up against it without having idiot parents like this...

Protege said...

It is so difficult, at times, to be a woman in the modern world. As we all strive for perfection.
It is sad, when people do not realize that perfection is an illusion, particularly the physical one. Furthermore, it is unimportant.
This family you mention here is severely misguided and ignorant. Unless this is a joke, I feel truly sorry for them.

Anonymous said...

Well as the 'instigator' (in a way) of all this, I feel I should add:

a) the good folk of Chiswick (where I live) have heaped (righteous!) abuse on this fool of a woman. And taken the piss out of her (we're Brits - natch)!

b) to add to the debate about the hardships of body image that the modern woman is exposed to - it is REALLY not so different for me as you might imagine. Really really not....

Todd

Anonymous said...

Well as the 'instigator' (in a way) of all this, I feel I should add:

a) the good folk of Chiswick (where I live) have heaped (righteous!) abuse on this fool of a woman. And taken the piss out of her (we're Brits - natch)!

b) to add to the debate about the hardships of body image that the modern woman is exposed to - it is REALLY not so different for me as you might imagine. Really really not....

Todd

sherri said...

I'm horrified!

Such a thought provoking post.

I'm gonna' go chew on this one for awhile.

Sometimes Sophia said...

Bargain boobs. How sad and scary. Too bad the parents aren't more supportive and accepting of their daughter's natural strengths. Maybe we should all post our comments on that e-board. Address, please?

Ronda's Rants said...

This has made me so sad!

Ronda's Rants said...

This has made me so sad!

C Woods said...

I agree completely. Besides it sending a terrible message about body image, 16 is way too young ---because a 16-year-old's body will change over the next decade. I know several women who were size AA when they were in high school but grew into B's, C's, D's ---and some are now having breast reductions because of back or neck problems.

I have no problem with plastic surgery for someone who has been disfigured in an accident or in war, or perhaps a child born with a hare lip that is split up to the nose, or anything done for health reasons.

I have known only one person who I thought made a good decision about plastic surgery to improve her looks. She was a beautiful woman from the front, but from the side one saw that she had a nose she could have hung laundry on. She waited until she was 32 and engaged to the love of her life who loved her, long nose and all, and then, as an engagement gift to herself, she had a nose job ---but she insisted that instead of giving her a cute little button nose, the surgeon reduce the size, but still leave it longer than normal so she still looked like herself. She didn't look "perfect" but she looked great. The wedding photos were beautiful.

Go kick their asses.