It had news outlets and the blogosphere erupting in outrage. Child Welfare Services was sent out to investigate. And it led Sherri Shepherd to almost cuss on live, network television. She was too pissed. But all of that had already transpired before I’d even heard the story.
I heard it from my mom… via text message…at 7:45 in the morning.
My mom is one of those people who believes almost everything is urgent; so, she’s notorious for the early morning text. But when I called and actually heard her voice as she recounted the story of Kerry Campbell, I could hear there was more than urgency in her voice. She was hurt.
If you haven’t heard Kerry Campbell, is the 34 year old mother who repeatedly injects Britney, her 8 year old daughter, with Botox. Not for some medical condition, but to reduce the appearance of wrinkles in her 8 year old face. While it might seem impossible to justify such a wrong-doing, this mother, found a way. She told “Good Morning America” she administers Botox injections to her daughter to remove wrinkles so she’ll have a better chance of winning when she competes in beauty pageants. She further rationalized her decision by saying she wasn’t the only pageant mother who does it.
Beauty pageants have been catching a lot of heat over the past few years; and while they do foster an intensely competitive, potentially unhealthy environment, this is really not about them. It’s about a mother who is manipulating the power she has over her daughter.
If you watch the clip of Campbell and her daughter it’s very clear how she’s influenced Britney into 1.) believing that she has wrinkles and 2.) that they need to be eliminated. This is not at all unlikely considering Campbell said she regularly injects herself with Botox as well.
But more than the manipulation this is a story about a mother who’s telling her daughter, at 8 years old, that her face isn’t good enough.
I’m saddened by the thought of what Britney will have to endure. And not just the physical torture she experiences at the hands of her own mother; I’m referring to the psychological damage that’s already been done. Even if Campbell stopped administering the Botox today, Britney has already been conditioned to devalue her own face as it appears naturally. There are millions of grown women who struggle with this notion and Campbell has ensured that her 8 year old daughter has a head start in the game of insecurity.
I don’t know the Campbell family dynamic or what other lessons she’s teaching her daughter; but a mother who agrees to come on national television and speak about this deplorable practice, with no shame whatsoever, seems to have her priorities all the way screwed up.
While there are mothers being arrested for trying to get their children quality education, Campbell is merely under investigation for injecting chemicals in her daughter’s face. (Despite the fact that her admission came complete with pictures.)
It’s sad that the quest to be “pretty” has managed to corrupt the preciousness of childhood innocence and it’s even more tragic that Britney may have to pay for her mother’s mistakes for year’s to come.