Editorial: Cosmetic surgery should be illegal for kids

AllthatIwantforchristmas.jpgIt is not uncommon for parents to cave in when a kid begs for a gift. It’s also not uncommon for the kid to quickly lose interest in whatever gift he or she so desperately wanted not long ago.

This might just be a reality that parents will have to deal with, but the German government has set out to protect its young citizens from this phenomenon. This is because teenagers in Germany have started asking their parents for cosmetic plastic surgery instead of toys.

The proposed changes would not place any ban on surgeries done for reasons other than cosmetic ones.

Jens Spahn, a health spokesman for one of Germany’s leading political parties, told the German newspaper Der Spiegel that he supports the changes.

“I think it’s completely unacceptable to give a 15-year-old a breast enlargement as a Christmas present. Therefore, plastic surgery that is not necessary on medical grounds should be banned,” Spahn said.

Well, Jens Spahn, we couldn’t agree more. The Lariat typically is a strong supporter of individual liberty, but this case is a special scenario. Once a person reaches adulthood, he or she should be able to determine what is best for them, but kids are different. Their minds are fickle and they are not able to determine what is best for them.

While people that oppose this change could argue that it discriminates against children, laws have always set age minimums on certain freedoms. This is why 8-year-olds can’t legally drive and 10-year-olds aren’t allowed to vote.

The bottom line is that kids, even ones as old as 15, shouldn’t be allowed to make life-altering, cosmetic decisions. A big reason is that teenage bodies for both males and females go through a lot of changes. While someone might not like the way he or she look at the moment, it might be a completely different story in the near future.

On a societal level, allowing kids to get plastic surgery only perpetuates harmful stereotypes about beauty.

It sends a message, particularly to young females, that beauty equates to value, and what value you don’t have should be paid for. Even kids who are happy with their body image could see a classmate or a neighbor get a nose job only to become self-conscious about their own nose. The societal implications are ominous.

It is entirely plausible that a parent could see something in his or her child that they don’t like and want to change. Parents could impose their will and get their kids plastic surgery when the children may not even want anything changed. Parents could also convince their kids that something is actually wrong with their bodies when everything is fine in reality. In a time where child beauty pageants are as big as they are, this is sadly a likely case.

Banning cosmetic surgery for children would involve getting rid of one way for kids to improve their self-esteem. After all, nobody would argue that having a high self-esteem is a bad thing, particularly in children.

The problem with the opposition is that self-esteem should not be equated to beauty.

Self-esteem should be more closely tied to things like academic success, achievements and the person’s intrinsic value as a human being.

The importance of a shallow sense of self-image also doesn’t trump the risks involved. At that age, the surgeries could have “dire consequences, both physically and mentally,” according to Spahn.

Luckily the proposed changes have support from more than one political party.

This law should be instituted everywhere because kids should not have the freedom to ruin their lives based on a perverted sense of beauty.