Should bullying victims get free plastic surgery?

A nonprofit organization gives a bullied teen free plastic surgery, but is going under the knife the right way to address the taunting?

Nadia Ilse's protruding ears have been the focus of bullies' taunts since the first grade, but a non-profit organization pinned back the 14-year-old's ears for free.
(Image credit: Screen shot)

The video: Nadia Ilse, a 14-year-old from Georgia, has been bullied for years for her protruding ears. Since first grade, she has been called "elephant ears" and "Dumbo," and went from being a talkative kid to an introvert. "It hurt so much," Nadia told CNN's Sanjay Gupta. "It happened so many times that it kind of all blends together." By the age of 10, Nadia was begging her mother for surgery to pin her ears back, but her family couldn't afford the $40,000 procedure. Little Baby Face, a nonprofit organization that gives bullying victims and children with facial deformities free plastic surgery, stepped in to help, granting Nadia her otoplasty — plus bonus chin and nose jobs — free of charge.

The reaction: "There are those who are literally bullied to death, and now there are those kids who are getting the strange opportunity to erase the object of their peers' taunting with plastic surgery," says Doug Barry at Jezebel. That's both a blessing and a curse, as the "newfound confidence" Nadia claims to have is likely only skin-deep. "In an ideal situation, Nadia would have learned to love herself exactly the way she was, ears and all," says Jacqueline Burt at The Stir. But unfortunately, her fears that the bullying would never stop if she didn't have the surgery were "probably valid." The real problem is the extra surgeries that the doctor suggested, says Burt. No matter how much surgery Nadia gets, she needs to learn that "perfection doesn't protect anyone from bullying. Only self-esteem does."

Take a look at Nadia's transformation:

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