Shortly after birth, Lee Kofman was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. Because she was born in Siberia where medical conditions were primitive, her mother was told to take the baby home and try to keep her alive until she was old enough to have surgery.
Luckily, she survived, and her parents were able to get enough money to bribe the best surgeons to operate. When she was ten years old, Kofman was involved in an accident with a bus driven by a drunken man. Many skin grafts later, the massive scars on her legs and body were to be her life-long inheritance. Imperfect tells her story.
Kofman builds a picture of the unravelling of her teenage years. Her mother told her not to smile at any camera and reveal her oversized mouth, so, from an early time, perfect features were a part of her mind set. When the family moved to Israel in 1985, new pressures were felt. At the new school, her differences marked her, leading to horrible bullying. She quickly learnt to cover her scars and, much later, realised she could present an erotic appearance with help from fishnet stockings and makeup.
It is logical to understand Lee Kofman’s fascination with scarring and how other people have coped with disfigurement. She has researched from ‘Homer’ to ‘Jaws’, trying to comprehend the depth of issues around scarring, discovering it seems, that women are less likely to reveal or discuss their scars than men.
Scaring can be seen as a shameful condition which can only bring disgust to those who look upon it. Studying for her Ph.D. with scarring as the focus, she discovered a massive body of work from ancient to modern times. Kofman has cleverly interwoven many parts of her research throughout her own story, to better understand and examine both ancient and modern beliefs about the human body and its appearance.
Imperfect is a mix of memoir and cultural beliefs, in which she reveals the many ways we are influenced by our bodies, challenging us to look at media, culture, and their effect on our lives.