When I read the news story (and reader comments) about the Georgia girl who received free reconstructive surgery after being bullied for years, I wavered between being pleased that someone was willing to help her and outraged that she would need to have surgery at all. (Read the article at HuffingtonPost.) In a perfect world, a child born with “dumbo” ears, uneven facial features, and non-life-threatening deformities would not be penalized or stigmatized, but would be judged and accepted as a person. Our self-esteem would not be based solely on our peers’ assessment of how we should dress, talk, walk, and think, but come from our core values that define our individuality.
In reality, we all are judged, and we all judge, by appearance. We are bombarded daily with advertisements showing us how we are supposed to look, and with the right products, we surely can resemble that model. And, of course, we would be so much happier if we just got the right “look”. If we don’t get that “look”, we are not worthy of acceptance. Sometimes it is being ignored or passed over and sometimes we receive an ongoing barrage of insults, taunts and verbal abuse. For any child who has suffered the verbal lashings of children--and adults alike-- who took offense at some perceived deformity, I'm sure an opportunity to have the “problem” resolved would surely be a step to gaining self-confidence. Perhaps getting the “look” would be the first step inside the circle of peers, a step toward self-realization that need not focus on the outward appearance.
In a perfect world, we would not be judged by our looks or teased about them. In the real world, we are all different and, unfortunately, we have to deal with bullies who choose to judge us by our differences. Thank heaven for an organization like Little Baby Face Foundation that helps a child become a person, not just a victim.