"My Beautiful Mommy"….it’s not what you think

David Pescovitz over at Boing Boing has posted a….well, it’s not really a link, and it’s not really a story. And I don’t think it’s an ad. It’s just something he thought noteworthy. Boing Boing isn’t a parents’ blog, so I thought I would pull this story over here into the mom-and-dad blogosphere.

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This is, apparently, a new book for young children (under 7) to acquaint them with the plastic surgery procedures that their moms (why not dads, dude?) might elect to have.

A quote from a Newsweek article about it that David uses reads:

“My Beautiful Mommy” is aimed at kids ages four to seven and features a plastic surgeon named Dr. Michael (a musclebound superhero type) and a girl whose mother gets a tummy tuck, a nose job and breast implants. Before her surgery the mom explains that she is getting a smaller tummy: “You see, as I got older, my body stretched and I couldn’t fit into my clothes anymore. Dr. Michael is going to help fix that and make me feel better.” Mom comes home looking like a slightly bruised Barbie doll with demure bandages on her nose and around her waist.
The text doesn’t mention the breast augmentation, but the illustrations intentionally show Mom’s breasts to be fuller and higher. “I tried to skirt that issue in the text itself,” says Salzhauer. “The tummy lends itself to an easy explanation to the children: extra skin and can’t fit into your clothes. The breasts might be a stretch for a six-year-old.”

Ok. So I think there are a lot of people who are going to be very upset about this book. I mean, come on. Right? Right? Come on! Should we really be putting the “ok for childhood consumption” stamp on elective surgeries?

I also think that there will be a lot of people who are just fine with this. Cosmetic surgery is a fact of life, and not everyone who gets a tummy tuck or their nose cut off or a rabbit ear grafted onto their head is doing it out of vanity. When we condemn plastic surgery we are condemning vanity, but if the two can be pulled apart in any way (like previously webbed toes) then we need to be very sure that we aren’t condemning plastic surgery just because it is associated with some pretty vain people.

And I also think that there will be a lot of people who are excited about this because it will help normalize their own actions. For the vain, this will be like the alcoholic who convinces everyone to go drinking so that he can get hammered without drinking alone. But for the sensible elective surgery patients who have a skin tag or third nipple removed this might help them feel less like a weirdo for having the unusual feature in the first place, which is really the obstacle they have to overcome when admitting that they’ve undergone an elective procedure.

And I also think I don’t know what the hell I think. I thought I could put off having any kind of conversation like this with my daughter for, oh, a couple of decades, until she comes home with the Pantera tattoo and says she wants to get another one that says “I Heart Kip Winger”, because she’ll be 20, and will have access to irony, as Greg Behrendt would say (check out “Uncool” if you haven’t already, folks), and I have to explain at that point why elective cosmetic Tattoo Removal surgery is just awesome. But if this book is out there I might have to have the conversation when she’s, oh, five and wants to know why I haven’t turned my face into rubberized cement. Or wants to know why I have.

So, although I don’t know what I think about this book, I do know that I hate the author. Because I want to procrastinate on conversations like this, and he’s just not helping. To that guy, I say: “I haet u so hrd.”

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