Showing posts with label children's book. Show all posts
Showing posts with label children's book. Show all posts

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Beautiful Mommy: "That's a Stupid Book"

picture of My Beautiful Mommy book
Oh, my dear readers, about once a week, usually on Sunday, I have Catholic guilt about the superficial aspects of beauty blogging, specifically Girl-Woman blogging about the olfactory joys of a whiff of perfume or the best way to conceal those dark circles under your eyes when I should be writing about saving our world or how to muddle through the current economic crisis. Ah, but I am not nearly smart enough to even come close to those answers, so I will stick with what I do best.

To add to my accumulating Catholic guilt and just in time for Mother's Day, My Beautiful Mommy, by Dr. Michael Salzhauer, a child's companion to mommy's mommy makeover surgery was released. The book, on first glance, made my skin crawl. So to be fair, I went to the book store to look at it and read it from front to back before allowing further skin crawling or biased opinions to seep into this post.

Yes, mom's having a tummy tuck apparently because of you, darling -- but don't be scared when you see mommy all bandaged up like a mummy! Dang, mom's just getting more beautiful! And thank you, Dr. Schnozzer --oops, Dr. Salzhauer for helping Cody understand Mom's nose job.

Okay, Beckie, cut the cynical crap and give your readers "the other hand."

On the other hand, my heart honestly goes out to the mom that has to have reconstructive breast surgery as a result of breast cancer or a non-cosmetic procedure. In this case, My Beautiful Mommy could win the Nobel Prize in compassionate literature in my opinion.

But read the following from Newsweek and see if you experience parasethesias like I did:

"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. The text doesn't mention the breast augmentation, but the illustrations intentionally show Mom's breasts to be fuller and higher. "I tried to skirt that issue in the text itself," says Salzhauer. "The tummy lends itself to an easy explanation to the children: extra skin and can't fit into your clothes. The breasts might be a stretch for a six-year-old."

Brains on Compassion: I am sure the doc's intentions were good, but I truly have mixed emotions about this book. On one hand, my liberal mind can sympathize as to how difficult it must be to explain a mommy makeover to a child. If the mom is dead set on transforming her bod surgically, then by all means, help prepare the child in the best way possible. On that same hand, the child of a mom that needs reconstructive surgery as a result of an illness would surely benefit from this book.

Brains on Dumb: On the other hand, as some critics have already noted, mommy's explanation that her nose job will make her look "not just different, my dear — prettier!" does send the wrong message. This just makes my stomach roll, because will this be our legacy to our daughters and granddaughters? To achieve beauty, darlings, at all costs?

Jamie came home to attend a wedding this weekend and I wanted her opinion on this book. She read the post and said, "That's a stupid book." Profound words from a 24-year-old woman.

How do you girls and women weigh in on this one? I would love to hear your opinions.

Have a relaxing and healthy Sunday,


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