Tag Archives: botox

Kids, Bullying and Plastic Surgery

plasticsurgeryI was somewhat floored this weekend as I listened to a brief radio report on my local public radio station about kids and plastic surgery.  The story (which made reference in the intro to Renee Zellweger’s altered appearance at a recent awards show) talked about the number of kids having plastic surgery and the reasons behind it.  The report opens by talking about the number of teenagers who have had Botox (TM) in 2013.  According to the report, that number is 17,958.  Now the report was careful to state that most of these procedures were for medical reasons.  Botox is used to treat migraines, strabismus (cross eyed) and facial spasms.  Yet when all was said and done, over 1,000 of these Botox procedures were performed on kids in America for “purely cosmetic reasons”.

Now I’m not going to tell any parent or kid what they should do with their own bodies.  It’s their body and their choice.  I don’t think I would let me kid have Botox treatments (if I had one).  But you know what, I think it’s a lot easier to judge if you are not in the situation.  In fact the report went on to state that cosmetic procedures are on the rise among young people, and experts suggest that the reasons for that rise probably include social media culture and the rise of the “selfie” as well as a rise in bullying in our schools.

My knee jerk reaction at the time was, why aren’t they fixing the BULLYING?  Why are kids undergoing the risks and rigors of plastic surgery all because kids can’t stop being mean?  And then I remembered my own school days.  There was a period in my school life, after I had moved to a new school where I was bullied relentlessly.  I was verbally abused and physically abused.  I had my property repeatedly stolen or damaged.  It was so bad, that I often got physically sick from the stress of it all.  My parents were extremely worried, but I felt that their involvement would  only make it much, much worse.  There was no surgery that could have fixed my situation.  And even if there were, I doubt we could have afforded it.  But I wonder, if there were a medical fix, that we could afford if we would have used it.  I was miserable.  My parents were deeply concerned.  Would we have undergone a medical risk if it meant that the problem would go away?  I don’t know.

What I do know is that not all people who are bullied can have that problem fixed by surgery.  The reasons for the bullying are not always physical or may not be easily physically corrected.  And even for surgery that is readily available, a whole lot of people cannot afford it.  And this lack of access to procedures that can make our social media selfie red carpet ready is just another gaping chasm between the haves and the have nots in our world.  So on the one hand I sort of feel like the families that are “opting out” of bullying by changing their physical appearance are making things even harder for the families that do not have that privilege.

It’s easy to heap scorn on the families who seem to take the whole notion of cosmetic surgery very lightly.  The report stated that husband/wife cosmetic surgeries are followed only by mommy/daughter plastic surgeries in popularity.  It’s easy to heap scorn on the privileged families who hand out boob jobs as high school graduation presents.

But I’d like to suggest that not all cases of kids and families choosing plastic surgery over bullying are quite that simple.  If I could have had a surgery to make the bullying stop, might I have done that?  I honestly don’t know.  And if I had done it, how would my life have turned out differently?  Would I be as strong?  Maybe not?  Would I be less fearful now?  Would I take greater emotional risks at this point because I spent less time as a target–less time being wounded?  And if my parents had chosen that route would they be wrong for perpetuating the need for perfection just because they wanted me to live my best life, be less in pain?

I don’t really know all the answers here, and I think that’s a good thing.  In my mind this is not a simple or black and white thing.  I sincerely believe that we need to change the culture of perfectionism, social media shallowness and cruel bullying among young people.  And I think that erasing differences by changing whatever faults the bullies choose to target in their victims ultimately make things worse for all of us.  But I think it’s important to view this subject through the lens of compassion.  Because if back then, when I was a kid, I would have been able to undergo a brief medical procedure that would make the bullying stop, even for a minute, I don’t know that I wouldn’t have done just that.

Love,  Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S. Want me to come to your school and talk about bullying?  BOOK ME!

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Exercise, Empowerment and Free Botox at the Finish Line

OMG does my makeup look okay?

My friend and colleague Kjerstin recently posted this article about the upcoming “Diva 5K” in Miami Florida.  The race, which exhorts women and girls as young as 8 years old to “Run like a Diva!” is offering an amazing prize package including botox (for winners 18 and older) and teeth whitening and laser hair removal (for winners 15 and older).

I cant even…

To my mind, one of the best things about participating in an event like a 5K is to empower women to think about their bodies in terms of what they can do rather than obsessing about how they look.  Women can focus on being strong, and capable.  Women can focus on being healthy and vibrant.

Unless we’re talking about the Diva 5K where women are encouraged to be wrinkle-free, white toothed and OMG hairless!  Apparently all participants will get a chance to be greeted at the finish line “where handsome young men from the local dance schools will sweep you off your feet.”  Because heaven knows, we can’t be interested in walking or running or otherwise exercising for our own sakes.  Goodness NO, girl.  We run to be thin, hairless, wrinkle-free and gorgeous for the hot “MENZ”!  Jeez don’t you know anything?

As a fitness instructor with several decades of teaching under my belt, I find this sort of thing so intensely frustrating.  We claim as an industry that we want people to exercise.  And then we make ridiculous promises to people that we know are false, and we trivialize the unbelievable potent real rewards that come with being fit.

The fitness industry has always promised that if you exercise hard enough, you’ll look like a hot, young, supermodel, AND a hunky hot man will be waiting to sweep you off your feet.  I’ve rarely seen that notion put into practice in quite as concrete a manner as we’re seeing with this Diva 5K, but it is a common notion nevertheless.

Yet, in reality, a 5K will make you look like a supermodel ONLY under the following conditions:

1.  You looked like a super model BEFORE you started training for a 5K,

2. You have a hair and makeup crew near the finish line ready to bathe you, do your hair, airbrush your skin and make you over, and

3.  Your finishers photos are heavily retouched in Photoshop.

Here’s a quick demonstration of what I’m talking about:

The sad thing is that the TRUE benefits of exercise (like lower stress levels, better blood glucose levels, better mood management, better sleep, a stronger sense of self esteem, a stronger immune system) THOSE benefits are often downplayed or overlooked.  The transformations of the people that I have taught have had very little to do with looking like a model.  I’ve seen a Mom, for the first time ever, have enough stamina to take her kid to Disneyland all day.  And a man, who for the first time in twenty years can take his wife dancing again.  I’m talking about people who can now bend over and tie their shoes, or walk their daughter down the aisle without pain or get their blood pressure or blood glucose levels under control.  I’m talking about young women who for the first time in their lives look in the mirror and see power and competence and confidence rather than simple disappointment that they don’t look like the “after” picture they have been taught to envision for themselves.

I’ve done several races in my life ranging from a 5K Turkey Trot to a full on marathon.  And yes, I have won some medals.  And I plan to run some more.  But if you’re standing at the finish line waving a gift certificate for free airbrush tanning or liposuction for me, I’d advise you to beware.  I just might use my hard-won leg muscles to kick you somewhere soft and very private.  Even if you ARE a hunky guy from the local dance class.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie

The Fat Chick

P.S. Speaking of handing out rewards, I’m happy to announce that our second winner in The Fat Chick’s Great Pedometer Giveaway is Susie Kline!  Yay Susie!

The Next Big Crime for Women: Getting Older


Yup, after getting fat, it seems the next deadliest sin for women is getting older.  Unlike so many societies in the world that revere and honor people as we get older, our American culture (and much of the westernized world) worships youth.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in Los Angeles where I currently reside.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve met a successful male producer or director or actor who is toting around wife “version 3.0” who is 20 or 30 years younger than him and caring for a few new young kids.  In Hollywood, the young, hot wife with cute little kids is the accessory of choice for successful men.  A lot of men go through a midlife crisis.  Some buy a Porsche.  In Hollywood, men buy new families.

So it’s no wonder that I see so many women around me trying so hard to appear so young.  Aside from the strict controls they seek to place on their weight, these women spend thousands of dollars on special cremes and potions to reduce wrinkles and fine lines, remove “age spots”, lift sagging breast tissue, tighten tummies and more.  And if the topical application doesn’t work, many of these women get poison injected into their skin, or have plastic surgery or liposuction.  I have a friend who nearly lost her house because she paid for a face lift she really couldn’t afford.

What a sad thing.  We should be honoring women as they get older.  We should learn from their wisdom.  We should laugh with them as they recount some of their foibles.  We should be offering each other strength and helping each other to relax rather than sharing the phone numbers for Botox clinics.  We are privileged to live in a time when many of us live long enough to get old.  Maybe we should be counting our blessings rather than counting our wrinkles or getting hair plugs.

Now look.  In the name of full disclosure, I do color my hair.  And I do wear sunscreen.  I don’t object to taking a few steps to help you feel good about yourself.  But I DO object to the notion that once your appearance marks you as beyond a certain age, you are no longer relevant to society.  I object to the idea that women over 40 should find it harder to find work, or that women of any age should be part of a “discarded family” because they don’t match the upholstery of a sports car or rate high as red carpet arm candy.  I object to spending a large part of your life trying to fight the inevitable effects of becoming an older person.

So my little chicklettes, if you are young, seek the councel of women who are older and more experienced.  And if you are older, why not get together with other women to laugh and support one another?  Why not celebrate your mature status?  You could come out and join one of our upcoming Hot Flash Mobs.  Or you could just get together at somebody’s house and drink some wine and eat something absolutely fabulous.  Host a lingerie party.  Put on some sparkly clothes and head out to a club.  Take just a little time to celebrate your privilege in growing older and still being able to walk around and enjoy this universe of ours.

Love,

The Fat Chick