• Wed, Oct 12 2011

Parents Give 13-Year-Old Girl Nose Job In Response To Bullying

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.

(photo: abcnews.go.com)

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  • Jen

    Not only is this sending the girl the message that she should change how she looks based on the opinion of others, it is also not going to help her in the long run. While bullying is awful and schools and parents both need to step up and take action against it, we also need to make sure that we are taking the right steps to helping the victims. Teaching kids who are bullied how to deal with the negative emotions that sort of abuse creates is going to serve them better than attempting to “fix” them so they won’t be bullied. Even if we successfully stop the bullying, kids can and do internalize their bully’s message and we need to help them deal with that.

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  • RighttoWorkMom

    “for being queer”

    Seriously? You’re a published author and couldn’t find another way to say that?

    I’m not usually a big proponent of political correctness, but to outright use a word that is also used as a slur by the very bullies you are discussing is more than a little disturbing.

    • Jen

      Actually, “queer” is a catchall term that the LGBT community has been using for years to describe any person who does not fit into the cisgendered heterosexual norm. It can be used as a derogatory term by bullies, but in the context of the article it is being used correctly to denote children who fall outside of the perceived sexual/gender identity mainstream.

    • RighttoWorkMom

      Jen, I have to disagree a bit. “Queer” seems to be more of a word that is only acceptable when used by people who are gay (not unlike many other controversial race words). “Dyke” has a similar situation. The connotation has become so negative because of how often it is used as discrimination that “dyke” really can’t be appropriately used by a heterosexual person. I don’t know the sexuality of the author, but I do know that she would be wise to assume her audience is predominantly heterosexual (and thus should not be using “queer” as a reference).

    • Mia

      @RighttoWorkMom

      I know of colleges— Ivy League and others– that have the “Queer Student Alliance” at their universities… U-Penn for one, because my son applied there, and received a Welcome to Campus post card from a student that was a member of the club.

      Therefore, “queer” is not just used by bullies, as you mentioned in your post.

      For being such a mean word, I find it funny that people cry foul when others use it, but somehow it’s okay for it to be the title of a university group.

    • aw

      um, actually do a bit of research @righttoworkmom. Jen is completely correct about the author’s use of the word “queer” here.

  • Lauren

    She has clearly already learned the lesson that looks are important – her after picture doesn’t just sport a different nose, but she is super tan (I hope it’s a spray tan…) and is wearing make up. She didn’t have any of that going on in the first picture.

    • RighttoWorkMom

      I think the picture is just different lighting. Her hair color looks different as well. I think she’s wearing mascara in the second picture and obviously pursing her lips, but I don’t think she’s had any big cosmetic makeover.

  • Laqueefah

    You guys are assuming that she would be perfectly fine and happy with her schnoz, if only those mean kids would stop teasing her about it!

    By the looks of that giant nose, she probably would have had it fixed sooner or later, and since kids are way more cruel than adults, why not have it done? You may think the bullies “won”, but I think it’s a small victory that this girl won’t have to endure four years of abuse at high school for having a large nose.

    Bottom line: she had a big old gonzo nose, she got it fixed, and it looks great. Good for her.

  • natalie monroe

    well just by looking at the picture she seems very happy with her transformation….. in the before pic she looks unhappy and isnt even bothering with makeup but in the after pic she has makeup on and is tan me as a parent i would do anything to make my child happy…….

    • Canaduck

      Then you should consider the difference between what might make a child happy now and what has the potential to negatively affect her future happiness.

  • Doctor Who

    Another victory for the bullies, it don’t matter what you look like it only matter how you view yourself and now, thanks to her parents she is gonna continue to change her natural beauty to something fake on a whim of people surrounding her.

    • Max48

      You have no idea how this decision actually evolved. It may have been planned or considered for some time. Bullying may simply have made it a “sooner” rather than “later” thing. It’s done ! She looks great. Big deal.

  • sara

    uh…. clearly it wasn’t just her nose. her mouth is a completely different shape as well. i think plastic surgery is ok when the person is an adult making their own (undramatized) decisions (hopefully). but a thirteen year old? maybe they’ll end the bullying, but hey, there are other problems they might start (teen pregnancy?). just don’t think it’s the best message for kids.

    • Fabala

      So you just assume a nose job leads to unsafe sex? Girls with big noses don’t get laid? A self-esteem boost leads to promiscuity?
      I doubt the parents just said “honey you need a new nose or you’ll never have friends”, the daughter probably begged and pleaded or showed concerning behavior and if the parents could afford it why not? Like a haircut or new clothes or braces, it’s for HER not her bullies and I highly doubt she would just start sleeping around because of a new nose.
      And her lips are just glossier cause of lip gloss and she’s making that stupid duck-face thing girls her age are doing for all their pictures now.

  • Mel

    Even though I think plastic surgery is a little extreme, and I think she should have waited until she was older.. if it helps her become a little more confident and gain some self esteem, then I don’t see a problem with it. It is, however, a very major decision, and they should be aware of the risks and understand that plastic surgery isn’t the answer to everything.

  • Julie

    I broke my nose playing softball at age 15. It looked a lot like hers. At 16, my mother approached me and said she couldn’t stand to see me so self-conscious and unhappy with it and that my parents were looking into reconstructive surgery for me. I knew that I hated it and was ashamed of my nose but I didn’t realize that I had developed nervous habits around it that my parents were noticing. The surgery was reconstructive, not “plastic”, and it was such a good decision. My self-esteem was never great, but not having a noticably broken nose really helped. I got picked on for having a “nose job” but I didn’t care. It was better than being picked on for having a crooked, broken nose. Bullying is serious business. I don’t blame that girl’s parents at all. There are also sound medical reasons to correct a broken nose.

  • Laura

    Not only did she change the size and shape of her noise but she also changed the color of her skin, and the size of her lips? this is like some reverse Micheal Jackson scenario. She went from being a big noise Jewish looking girl to a Black chick with full lips. Is she attending a predominantly black school? What’s really going on.

    • aw

      “is she attending a predominantly black school?” “reverse micheal [sic] jackson scenario”? you sound absolutely ridiculous.

  • Sarah

    In the second photo she is clearly pouting for the camera (stupid “sexy” pout/duck lips which reminds me almost of Miley Cyrus in every photo ever seen of her…). So she put on some makeup and gloss for the camera-she’s happy with what she sees in the mirror now.

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  • Mom who had a nose job as a teen

    Good for her…if she feels better about herself that’s all that matters. I was bullied as a teen & had a nose job. My confidence soared and I was finally comfortable with myself after years of teasing. My whole personality was positive and I think it was the best decision for me because I just could not overcome or overlook the harsh words sent my way. My teen daughter broke her nose and will be having a nose job as well. Is it the best decison for her? We think so as parents. She’s never been teased about her nose but she wants it done because she feels it will look better. It all depends on the person, not really the age. It’s what we can handle as people. What we can live with or not. If we can help her, as parents, we will, as that is our job. To do ALL we can. And if she went through the pain of having her nose broken in an accident and decides she wants a nose job, she should have it and not have to live with the results of a broken nose if it can be changed. She’s a straight “A” student, well adjusted, fun loving and a great kid. We support her completely.

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  • lavenderlantern

    I am sick of people who think some poor girl is supposed to accept having a nose like that and accept having people respond negatively to her because of all the “true beauty is on the inside” crap. And the same people condemning plastic surgery as though it’s some kind of sin. I was bullied all through school by males telling me how disgusting my big nose looked on me or that I was cute except for that huge nose. I had to wait until I was 25 to meet a guy who would overlook that feature and actually get to have sex. If I had surgery at 13 like that girl (and I was finished with growing by then) I would have had a chance at a normal social & romantic life. Guys want relationship with a woman they find physically attractive in addition to other things; it’s nice fairy tale thinking that a great personality and being the bestest of friends will completely replace sexual attraction for a man. And to tell a woman she should just love her natural looks 100% no matter what and that wanting to be attractive and wanted by someone is vain & foolish and she should just wait years for that one special someone that doesn’t express disgust…how incredibly self righteous and bossy.

  • Yves

    I think the tan and makeup made her look the most different…

  • stupidlittletwat

    So did the retarded duck lips come with the new nose? What a self center little twat.