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Fourteen-year-old Nadia Ilse has been trending like crazy on the Internet. But the sweet Georgia teenager isn’t an Olympic darling—she’s a bullying victim who got plastic surgery to help give her a new lease on life.
Everyone from Yahoo! News to Time.com has reported on this poor girl who got mercilessly teased about her big ears. “They said that I have the biggest ears that they’ve ever seen,” Ilse told Good Morning America. about her classmates.
The experience, she said, made her feel like “dirt.”
She had contemplated suicide, but the thought of devastating her mother—who is unemployed and caring for Ilse’s 9-year-old brother with cerebral palsy—kept her from doing anything drastic.
The reason why Ilse is making headlines, though, is through the intervention of the nonprofit Little Baby Face Foundation, her family was able to get her plastic surgery to pin back her ears, and give her a new nose and chin. Some $40,000-worth of cosmetic surgery done for free.
Now. as she readies to start school with her new face, Ilse is clearly more confident and positive: “I see a new me. A beautiful girl,” she tells GMA. And that’s a blessing.
But is it the answer?
Bullying has obviously become a very sensitive issue for the LGBT community and solutions are hard to come by. Is this a happy ending? Or is the message being sent by the media and Nadia’s parents (we’re not gonna judge a 14-year-old girl) that if someone doesn’t like you, change yourself so they will?
What if someone suggested a limp-wristed sissy who got tossed in his locker every day stiffened his walk and talked deeper if he wanted to end the abuse? Or that a baby dyke should grow out her hair and wear makeup if she didn’t want to get spitballs thrown at her.
What if Nadia’s classmates just find something else to torment her about—her plastic surgery, say.
Or maybe we’re reading too much into this. Maybe a child in crisis needs to use all the tools at her disposal to end years of misery.
There’s not clear-cut answer here, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of opinions. Share yours in the comment section.