US experts are concerned about a steady rise in cosmetic procedures to widen the head and enlarge the eyes in mostly teen and preteen girls.
Jennifer Smith is 12 years old, and she has been begging her parents for the last two years to get the upper portion of her head widened, and her eyes enlarged. Smith says, "Why can't I look more like a Bratz doll? Besides, other girls at my school have had this done."
Smith's parents have their concerns. Her father, David Smith, says, "It isn't like we lack the money. I'd do anything for my daughter. That is why I have my misgivings here. Enlarging the head is one thing, but when they mess with your eyes, there's always the risk of blindness."
Doctors explain that they don't actually enlarge the eyes. Dr. Todd Johnson says, "I only reshape the tissue around the eyes, so that a pocket is created for holding a prosthetic lens that resembles a large eye. Their real eyes are left untouched."
Psychologists warn that just going along with the crowd is not always a good thing. According to Sheila Johnson, PhD., "This is a time of life when young people are still figuring out who they are, and they are under a lot of pressure to conform to what might be unreasonable beauty standards. So parents need to be sure that such procedures fit who their kids really are, and that it won't interfere with their dreams for the future."
A number of parents are concerned that this sort of cosmetic work may leave their daughters with limited career options. Smith says, "I wouldn't want my daughter to have to give up her dreams of being either a doctor or a computer scientist, just because she's had this surgery done."
According to LaTonya Phillips of the local employment commission, "There is no shortage of jobs available for women with enlarged heads and eyes. Our computer is showing listings for exotic dancers with enlarged heads, a brothel which gives hiring preference to such women, a circus, and a position for a DJ at a nightclub that features drag queens. So you can see that women with such procedures have a wide range of jobs they can choose from."
Smith says, "I just want what's best for my daughter. If she really wants this done, we will be there and support her every step of the way."