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Teens increasingly undergoing plastic surgery to avoid bullying

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The View's Elisabeth Hasselbeck (who will always be the girl from Survivor to me) joined Good Morning America as a special correspondent a few months ago, and her most recent story looked at a growing trend among teens to have plastic surgery in order to avoid bullying. As I watched this piece, it kept putting me in mind of fugitives from justice trying to elude Interpol or something — it seems such a drastic step. One girl named Erica had been mercilessly teased about her nose, and she recalled banging her face against a door, trying to break the source of her misery.

In these cases, cosmetic procedures are undergone not for vanity's sake, but to end psychological torture. It is stated that around 90,000 teens underwent cosmetic surgery in 2007 (not all due to bullying of course), with the most common procedures being nose jobs, breast reductions, breast augmentations, ear tucks and Botox. Interestingly, breast reductions are one of the more popular procedures for boys, and if you saw Meat Loaf in Fight Club, you can understand why.

A child psychiatrist interviewed said that the problem isn't the nose, it's the bullying, and basically said that a young person shouldn't have elective surgery unless they're the Elephant Man, and going under the knife is always a risk. The question seems to hang in the air: is this an acceptable shortcut to a happier life, or the morally ambiguous skirting of an underlying problem? I think I know what Joan Rivers would say.