So the other day I'm watching The Colbert Report when M. Colbert holds up a book titled My Beautiful Mommy by Michael Salzhauer, M.D.
At first I think, ha ha! That's funny! Those wacky folks over at The Colbert Report (who have yet to send me two tickets to see the show -- bastards!) mocked up a book for kids about mommies getting plastic surgery and how mommy is way prettier now that she has a new nose, a flatter tummy, and bigger breasts. What a riot!
The only problem is, it isn't a joke. The book is for real.
Here is the "detailed description" provided by the publisher, Big Tent Books:
"Dr. Michael Salzhauer, a renowned plastic surgeon, wrote My Beautiful Mommy to help patients explain their transformation to their children. The story guides children through Mommy's surgery and healing process in a friendly, nonthreatening way."
But before you rush out and buy it for the kids (or your wife), check out this "review" of My Beautiful Mommy (which came out on Mother's Day no less -- the book, that is, not the article) by Newsweek writer Karen Springen.
Thanks to Ms. Springen, I now know that "according to the latest numbers from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, breast augmentation was the most popular cosmetic surgery procedure last year, with 348,000 performed (up 6 percent over 2006). Of those, about one-third were for women over 40 who often opt for implants to restore lost volume in their breasts due to aging or pregnancy weight gain. There were 148,000 tummy tucks—up 1 percent from the previous year."
(Forget getting plastic surgery when you are older kids! You need to become plastic surgeons!)
And guess what? These makeover mommies are bringing their impressionable tots to the doctor's office with them. Which is what led Dr. Salzhauer, who hails from one of the nation's capitals of plastic surgery, Bal Harbour, Florida, to create his book.
While some "experts" who have read the book say it does children and their moms a great service, it also does both a disservice as Dr. Salzhauer doesn't go into any medical details. Oh no. That would be, how shall I put it, ugly.
Nor does the book discuss the risks of plastic surgery. Or the fact that you have to get "touch ups" every few years. Nor does it suggest that mommy should be happy with how she looks and is sending a very bad message to little Jimmy, who will now expect all women to be perfect, or little Janey, who will now wonder if her belly button is pretty enough or her breasts big enough (when she finally gets breasts).
Here is another quote from the Newsweek article:
""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."
Hey lady, how about exercising and/or eating healthier? But why take the "hard" way when there is Dr. Feelgood telling you he can make you look like a Barbie doll in just a few hours?
Btw, I do believe plastic surgery has its place, especially when done for reconstructive or medical reasons. But this whole idea of the "mommy makeover" reminds me too much of a Twilight Zone episode.
Yes, we could all look a little better. And while I wouldn't mind having a little more bosom and fewer wrinkles (and being a few inches taller, though I can't do anything about that), I'm going to instead remind myself -- and my 10-year-old daughter -- that real beauty lies within.