It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Perfect in Every Way

“Women who have had augmentation surgery are three times more likely to commit suicide.” Emma and I haven’t been paying attention to the kitchen radio, but this pronouncement catches our attention. Seems the CBC is discussing cosmetic surgery.

Emma’s voice rises from the fridge in which she rummages. “Well, duh. They must have terrible self-esteem.”

I’m pleased that she’s made that connection on her own. Smart girl. Then she dances out to the dining room, where Emily and Anna, early risers this nap-time, await their snacks.

“Okay, girls!” She declares. “Never get an augmentation!”

Two pairs of round eyes stare. Evidently they’re taking this very seriously.

“You’re muddling effect with cause there, love. It’s not the augmentation that causes the suicides.”

“Oh, right.” She turns back to the babies, who are watching her every move. They’re expecting food, she has a Public Service Announcement in mind. “Girls?” She holds her arms out wide. “Girls, you’re perfect, just the way you are!”

Heh. And so is she, my not-so-little girl.

© 2006, Mary P

November 28, 2006 - Posted by | individuality, my kids, the things they say!


  1. I was listening to that piece as well, and I found it very interesting.

    I used to be dead-set against cosmetic surgery but the W show “Style by Jury” has forced me to rethink my position. Have you seen the show?

    They never do anything drastic in their makeovers, but I’ve seen them do laser hair removal for women with facial hair and provide veneers for people with terrible teeth, among other things. The effects that these relatively minor changes have can be very profound and, judging by the reaction of the recipients, seem to greatly improve their self-esteem.

    Like everything else, there’s a line between reasonable and obsessed. If there is something about my body that I absolutely hate and the technology exists to remove it, is it really so wrong to do so?

    I can think of other examples of cosmetic surgery that might be positive, like women who have breast reduction surgery to save their backs, breast implants for women with no breasts, or the removal of excess skin from people who have lost a great deal of weight.

    Comment by dreadmouse | November 28, 2006 | Reply

  2. All the examples you give are worthy. Women whose hugely outsized breasts cause them physical trauma, people with huge amounts of excess skin following dramatic weight loss, and I would add, children with facial deformities. They are good reasons for surgery. I am sure there are others, equally valid. They are not, of course, the reasons most cosmetic surgery is done.

    The problem emerges when perfectly normal, acceptable people develop a hate for some perfectly normal, acceptable part of their body. Because they’ve tied their self-worth to their appearance, they believe that changing this one aspect of their exterior will improve their lives wholesale. Which, of course, it won’t.

    In my opinion, while there are valid, laudable reasons for surgery, such reasons account for only a small percentage of such surgeries. The fact that so many are willing to undergo the expense and risk of surgery to turn a normal body part into something different (“better”) says something sad about our so-surface-obsesssed society.

    Comment by Mary P. | November 28, 2006 | Reply

  3. sadly, there are sooooo many girls and women who need emma (or anyone, really) to tell them that. i’m glad, but not surprised, that she’s so astute about these things. you’ve got a good one there, mary. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by kari | November 28, 2006 | Reply

  4. Can we borrow Emma for a bit?

    Comment by stefanierj | November 28, 2006 | Reply

  5. Emma rocks. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Comment by Kristen | November 28, 2006 | Reply

  6. Re Emma —

    I can vouch for it; Emma is perfect! (Just like her Mom.)

    Re dreadmouse’s comment —

    I agree that the surgeries she mentions are reasonable. But don’t think of these shows as neutral or objective. They are designed to promote a product — cosmetic surgery — as well as titillate the viewer. The examples are chosen to put a “good face” on the industry.

    Comment by Stephen | November 28, 2006 | Reply

  7. awww, Emma!


    just fabulous!

    Comment by Sassy Student | November 28, 2006 | Reply

  8. yes, yes she is. And so are they. And wo are we. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Comment by Jenorama | November 28, 2006 | Reply

  9. Yeah Emma!!

    I wish more girls thought that about themselves. Guess it just takes one to start a movement.

    Comment by kimmyk | November 28, 2006 | Reply

  10. What an awesome thirteen year old! (and what an awesome Mum she must have that she is able to communicate those points!)

    Comment by Angela | November 28, 2006 | Reply

  11. woah.

    out of the mouths of babes. and helped along by a very good teacher.

    nicely done.

    Comment by jen | November 28, 2006 | Reply

  12. Yippee for Emma. She’s brilliant.

    Comment by Granny | November 28, 2006 | Reply

  13. I love reading about your conversations with Emma. It makes me want that very same connection with my little one some day as we sit in a coffee shop snickering about all the people we know who’ve had boob-jobs, nose-lifts, etc. Just kidding!

    Comment by Jennifer | November 29, 2006 | Reply

  14. That daughter of your is amazing! I think it says a lot about the mom . . .

    Comment by Lady M | November 29, 2006 | Reply

  15. Wow. I think I’m going to have to stop letting Emma read these comments: pretty soon her head won’t fit through doorways!


    Of course I let her know how much people appreciate her for her intelligence and perception. (Even though – gasp! – most of you don’t know what she looks like!)

    Comment by Mary P. | November 29, 2006 | Reply

  16. I think Emma ia very wise and wonderful, and I wish all girls could grow up not worrying about any part of their body.

    Now, that said, I had breas augmentation surgery when I was 25 and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. One less thing to worry about everyday. Clothes fit, no more frustration, one problem solved.

    Ionce had someone ask me why I did it since I didn’t get them that big and I didn’t wear clothes to show them off. Well, you know that was not in my thinking at all. I didn’t get them to get attention. I just did it becasue it made me feel more like the me that I had in my head. I went from a double A to a 34C. I have had no problems and noo regrets and have no thoughts of suicide!! I’ve made it to 46 — and lived through the death of my son, I figure I’ll stick it out!

    Comment by AA | December 1, 2006 | Reply

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