standards of beauty

A 13-year-old-girl recently got a nose job because her peers at school were giving her a hard time. This was done with the emotional and financial support of her parents. I cannot imagine nor do I want to downplay the kind of ridicule that the girl was being subjected to by her peers, as girls can be unbelievably cruel. Being a 13-year-old girl means being a very harsh critic on yourself and the girls who are the most cruel to others are the ones who like themselves the least. My heart goes out for the girl who ended up getting the surgery but it also goes out for the girls who bullied her — those girls who dislike themselves so much that they are turning their rage outwards on a daily basis.

I have to wonder, though, if the parents who swooped in with the rhinoplasty didn’t do so prematurely. The things I didn’t like about my physical self as a teenager were of course the things that I felt made me stand out like a sore thumb but as I have mellowed a bit I can say with some degree of certainty that I appreciate every single one of them and would not change them. To whit:
*There is a small indentation on the right side of my forehead from when my brother and I were playing and he wanted to “fix” the pain in my head — with the child’s hammer he had at his disposal. I wouldn’t get rid of that for anything.
*There are the freckles that as a middle schooler were the bane of my existence, but when in the winter I can barely see them I don’t look quite like myself. When after a few days in the sun galaxies of them reappear on my cheeks and shoulders I am somewhat relieved.
It is true that when I was in those awkward years girls were mean in person (we had no Facebook), and not to me. I wasn’t bullied. I had a rather pleasant, if not uneventful high school experience. I had no physical so-called “flaw” that anyone picked on me about. I was an itty bitty thing, so sometimes people pointed out that I was short (of which I was well aware) and every now and again someone would hint that I was not especially endowed in the chest area (of which I was also aware, and not entirely ungrateful – first, I liked jumping hurdles the year I ran track and this physical trait was extremely advantageous, and second, I have never, ever had to worry that a man asked me out to dinner because of my cup size but rather have simply gotten to assume that it is because of my personality and my pretty little face. Some women have to wonder every time)).

Mom and Dad Taylor did what any parent would do, I think, swooping in and doing whatever they could to ameliorate the emotional pain that baby bear Maria was experiencing. My mom and dad swooped in (sometimes still do) and took some measures that were grandiose themselves. I just kind of hate it for Maria Taylor because now that they have taken this measure, they have forever robbed Maria of the chance to really fall in love with something that makes her her. That’s what bullying is, I think, or at least part of it. Sure, bullies have an uncanny ability to sniff out a weakness like sharks can smell blood. But they are also so petrified of being forgettable that they hone in on and then attack the unique. In this case and they succeeded in getting someone to rid themselves of it.

P.S. — Mom, because I know you’re reading, thanks for making me stick with all of the things that made me unique.


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