Meet Samantha, a first-grader from South Dakota who's already developed a complex about her oversized ears (which, to our untrained eyes, seemed pretty cute). So she and her mother did the logical thing and hopped on a plane — the first time on a plane for both — to get Samantha's ears cosmetically fixed.
Samantha's mother Cammy is fearful that her daughter's cup ears (one of which is also a lop ear) are the subject of schoolyard bullying and views surgery as a preventative measure for her daughter. When Good Morning America's Juju Chang repeatedly asked the seven-year-old if she had been bullied, she said no — but her mother claims otherwise. Cammy says Samantha's been called "monkey ears" by other children and that "adults are the worst," as it's the adults who supposedly say things like "What happened to her ear? That's so gross." Perhaps Samantha's mother is more obsessed with those ears than Samantha is herself.
The doctor who performed Samantha's transformation cites studies that suggest children with abnormalities are less popular, which can hinder the development of self-identity. While that's likely true, there are factors beyond self-esteem that affect a child's development process. What's more, we all know that kids will a reason to tease another child if they want to: why not focus Samantha's red hair? Freckles? Or maybe the fact that she went on national TV to fix her ears? Children are relentless if they want to be, and there's no surgery to protect a kid from that.