While all children generally endure horrendous bullying, we can all remember the kids who got it worse. Whether it was for being queer, non gender conforming, being from a certain background, or for sheer appearance, children seem to always find reasons to attack their peers for being different. But when 13-year-old Nicolette Taylor was teased viciously in Long Island for having a big nose, her parents decided that plastic surgery was the best course action.
It’s worth noting that the teenager broke her nose twice as a child, at least so she claims to Nightline. The child model was bullied both at school and on social media sites like Facebook, which is becoming more and more the norm in stories like these. Understandably, Nicolette felt that there was no escaping her torment.
Nicolette’s parents consented to a rhinoplasty this past summer, making her the youngest patient her plastic surgeon has ever performed the elective surgery on. The young lady cried at seeing her new nose for the first time which gives you some idea how deeply rooted this issue is for the teen. Her parents have defended their actions telling ABC news that they did what any concerned parent would do. Rob Taylor also equated the elective surgery to braces and education:
“You send them to a good school, you’d buy them shoes. You’d get them braces, which we did. It’s that kind of thing,” he said.
My knee-jerk reaction to this story is that Nicolette’s parents are almost condoning the bullying by consenting to such a procedure. The inherit message for the 13-year-old here is pretty clear as they’re essentially telling her that other people’s opinions about her looks matter more than her own or even worse — that other people can dictate how she ultimately views herself. Encouraging their little girl to go under the knife also seems to stress that maintaining a conventionally attractive look is of the utmost importance, above all other attributes.
At the same time, I understand that the teenager’s nose was impacted by a couple of injuries and that technically, the surgery is corrective. Still, shuttling your child to have such a procedure in lieu of teasing — and not say, a personal decision — affirms precisely one thing: the bullies won.