Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mommy 2.0

When I first started checking out the offerings of the children’s' section of public libraries a few years ago, I found there were books about every conceivable life situation that a child could possibly need help coping with.

Divorce, death, religious and cultural differences, bi-racial families, moving and a new school, same sex marriage, a sibling coming along after a long hiatus - you name it and there was a picture book that explained the deal in simple terms. With more and more Mommies going under the knife to get a new and improved look, there is Mommy 2.0 - A new picture book about plastic surgery aims to explain why mom is getting a flatter tummy and a 'prettier' nose.

The goal of the book is laudable no doubt - it aims to answer questions kids have about their mother's new appearance and the process leading up to it. But as the article points out, there is a downside too. It quotes child psychiatrist Elizabeth Berger, author of "Raising Kids With Character," :

Then there are the body image issues raised by cosmetic surgery—especially for daughters. Berger worries that kids will think their own body parts must need "fixing" too. The surgery on a nose, for example, may "convey to the child that the child's nose, which always seemed OK, might be perceived by Mommy or by somebody as unacceptable," she says.

While that's a legitimate concern, I'm wondering about the title of the book itself - Mommy 2.0 That makes Mommy some kind of bot/widget/gizmo that needs versioning up to remain viable. There is a whole bunch of serious negative connotations to that - as Mommy Barbie-fies herself, she looses her humanity as well. That is definitely the wrong message to convey to any kid - male or female.

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