Douchebag Decree: Sarah “Human Barbie” Burge, Mother and Plastic Surgery Voucher-Giver

"ye olde douchebag decree" in blue letters with a light blue hand-drawn douchebag in the background, and "BITCH HEREBY DECLARES THE FOLLOWING PERSON A TOTAL DOUCHEBAG" in small letters in red underneath.

What do you get the seven-year-old girl who has everything? Well, if you’re Sarah Burge, self-proclaimed “Human Barbie,” and the girl in question is your daughter Poppy, you give her a voucher for breast implants for her birthday, and you follow it up with a Christmas voucher for liposuction. Happy Holidays!

Poppy, a blond white girl, holding a plastic surgery voucher. Her mother, a blond white woman, stands in the background
The gift that keeps on giving (you a complex about your body).

In her defense, Burge claims that Poppy asked for the vouchers for her birthday and Christmas, and that it’s OK because she told Poppy she has to wait until she’s 16 to get the procedures done. “She asks for plastic surgery all the time,” says Burge. “Girls don’t want Snow White and Cinderella anymore.” False dichotomy aside (it’s Snow White or a boob job, young lady!), I think we can all agree that seven-year olds often want things that aren’t necessarily healthy, realistic, or appropriate (pretty sure that if I’d had my way when I was seven I’d be living in the penguin enclosure at the zoo right now)—that’s why adults are usually around to put the brakes on. Or not.

Burge is well known in the UK for her own plastic surgery (she’s spent more than £800,000—about $1 million US—on various Barbie-fications) which is likely where Poppy found her inspiration. However, it should go without saying that a 51-year old woman’s decisions about what to do with her body are different than those of a pre-tween. I’m not judging Burge for her decision to be (and make a fortune as) a “Human Barbie”—that’s none of my business—but encouraging her daughter, whose body and mind are still developing, to plan for a future filled with silicone breasts and liposuction, is not only limiting, it’s reckless and ridiculous. Who knows how Poppy might want to look as an adult? NO ONE, because she’s seven! How about letting her make her own decisions about her body when she’s able, instead of purchasing augmentation procedures for her before she’s old enough to see a PG-13 movie?!

I’m no parenting expert by any means, but to say that these vouchers are sending harmful messages from mother to daughter seems like an understatement. Poppy is already quoted in the Daily Mail as saying that she, “can’t wait to be like Mummy with big boobs.” Could it be that she feels pressure to conform to a standard of beauty so unrealistic that it can only be attained through surgery? And could it be that her own douchebag mother is the one applying the pressure, or at the very least cheering her on from the sidelines with a checkbook? I don’t know what Poppy will get for her eighth birthday, but unless Sarah Burge has a change of heart I can only guess that it will be another voucher to be cashed in for a future plastic surgery. Well Sarah Burge, this Douchebag Decree is effective immediately.

Previously: Vote for Douchebag of the Year with Sweetie the Panda!

by Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

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14 Comments Have Been Posted

Isn't it also a little

Isn't it also a little unnerving that her daughter's expression is already that of a blow up doll? I can only assume she posed that way right? Because I don't see a joyous expression in her eyes, as it might be if the picture just happened to catch her mid-excited-scream...

this reminds me

this reminds me of when my boy/girl twins were infants and ppl asked me if i was going to get her ears pierced. i responded enthusiastically that yes and i would have his nose pierced too! which disturbed them. . i liked pierced ears and noses and other things but i don't get to make those choices for anyone else.

what about circumcision?

what about circumcision?

Poppy has a webpage...yay?!?

Poppy has a webpage...yay?!? Obviously her mom wrote the whole thing and its is extremely disturbing to me. Why do little girls need to know how to pole dance???

Why do little girls need to

Why do little girls need to even know what pole dancing is in the first place?

Double Standard?

As someone on the facebook link to this stated, is anyone looking into the harm in this, child protection services-wise? I mean, nowadays, if a child is obese or overweight, all kinds of flags are waved. Children are even being removed from their parents if they are "too fat". What about this? Is this woman not endangering her child, both physically and mentally (that makeup can't be good for her young skin and eyes...)?

It seems to me to be a horrible double standard. Obesity is such a huge issue (it really is, I'm not trying to disregard the severity of childhood obesity), yet manipulating and influencing your seven year old daughter into the mindset that she has to change everything about her body to be of worth isn't?

As abhorrent her behavior is,

As abhorrent her behavior is, I don't think that CPS should get involved (and yes, I know they're in Britain, but I don't know what it's called there). Do I think that her mother is giving her unrealistic expectations for her looks? Yes. Do I think her mom is a bad mom? Sort of. But it becomes such a slippery slope that the state could decide even the most innocent of acts and behaviors are damaging to children. For example, extreme religiousness, divorced parents, a parent who is incarcerated, I could go on and on. Children are incredibly resilient, and Poppy could grow up to hate her mother when she gets into her teens and completely reject the plastic surgery and become the total opposite.

Thank you for this. I agree

Thank you for this. I agree with you. The issue here is much more complex than is being address. I'm super bummed out by this article and the comments.

When a child risks being

When a child risks being harmed, the state must intervene. That's what the state is there for: to protect its citizens.

Yes, the issue is complex. But this is not innocent behaviour: this is deeply psychologically damaging behaviour - especially in the long term. Even if Poppy rebels (and you can't know if she will), she'll still have to face tons of insecurities and trauma further down the line.

Except sometimes it gets

Except sometimes it gets ridiculous. I've read about schools banning touching. I'm talking all physical contact between students. Kids can't give their friends hugs or high-fives because it could lead to "roughhousing." Schools have also banned all outside food, forcing parents to buy the school lunch in the name of "safety" for other kids with allergies. Banning tag. Banning recess. Banning bake sales. Banning outside lunches because the principal thought that the food kids were bringing wasn't "healthy enough." Banning photography. All in the name of "safety" and "well-being."

The question is what is harmful? Anyone could EASILY argue that a child raised in a strict, conservative religious household is being harmed because of the ideas that they're taught regarding people who are unlike themselves.

<b>"Even if Poppy rebels (and you can't know if she will), she'll still have to face tons of insecurities and trauma further down the line."</b>

And you know that for a fact? Not every kid with a fucked up parent has issues down the road when they get older. Plenty of people don't. Sure, it might be more likely statistically, but that's not enough in my book to have the government intervene and take her away from her mom.

Here's the thing too. My father-in-law is mentally ill. He is undiagnosed and untreated paranoid schizophrenia. He also raised my husband alone. When he was sick, it was especially difficult on my husband, as you can imagine. He was just a kid and here his dad was, talking about how the government is spying on him and how he (my husband) is really a spy out to get him, sent my grandma and grandpa. He also worked the morning shift so my husband had to walk himself to the bus stop every morning since he was five. There's more things I could list. But according to you, he would be damaged later on in life, and it's quite the opposite. He's one of the most responsible people I know and very successful.

I guess my point is is that I don't think that the government ought to say what is bad for us and what isn't, which is why I am a firm believer in small government. The less government in my life, the better. Do you want the government telling you what to do, how to live your life, and if you have a child, tell you how to raise him/her? I don't.

Do I agree that it's deeply psychologically damaging behavior? Of course. Giving a 7-year-old plastic surgery vouchers is inappropriate and disturbing, as well as sad. But is it bad enough parenting to have her taken away? Certainly not.

I couldn't disagree with you

I couldn't disagree with you more. Obesity is /not/ a huge issue. I welcome you to check out the Size Matters series written by Tasha Fierce which Bitch published. Here is <a href="">a reading list</a> as part of the series. There is also gobs of material by Lesley Kinzel, Marianne Kirby, Kate Harding et al., etc. on the internet. In addition, there is Paul Campos' The Obesity Myth which is eye-opening.

Hear hear!

Hear hear!

It's much, much different

It's much, much different concerning children as it is adults. I'm not getting into this because it's derailing.

On the subject of beauty,

On the subject of beauty, today I read a fairly recent article on cosmetic surgery ( which highlights in graphic detail the perils of such body alterations. Anyway, I found it an engrossing read, and thought you might appreciate a peak too. Cheers!

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