Women of Afghanistan: fully veiled but opting for nose jobs
Plastic surgery clinics are no stranger to Kabul but now the ladies of Afghanistan are less likely to be asking the doctors to fix the scars of an acid attack than they are to want a little off the sides of their nose.
The rise of cosmetic operations is a little surprising in a country where so many women wear the full burqa (or 'chadri'), which covers the entire face other than a grill-like flap across the eyes. Although the veil is no longer a legal requirement, many women feel significant social pressure to continue to cover.
However, there are other social pressures that Afghan women now find themselves under. For some, it is the ability of their husband's to travel abroad and witness a more conspicuous kind of female beauty. Dr. Aminullah Hamkar, 53, runs a clinic in Kabul. Speaking to AFP he explained the story of one 18-year-old woman who's husband complained about her breasts after returning from a business trip to Dubai.
“Her husband travels to a liberal, more open city like Dubai, probably sees beautiful and in-shape women and upon his return home he dislikes his wife’s shape and even approves her visiting a plastic surgeon", he said, adding:
“Many people’s perceptions of life and sex change upon their return from a trip to a less conservative place.”
For other Afghan women, they are simply feeling the pressures of living up to standard images of female beauty. A popular procedure for Afghan ladies with flatter facial features is a nose enlargement.
instead of using silicon, surgeons use rib cartilage to increase the structure of the nose from the inside. For Shaida, an 18-year-old policewoman, the procedure was a godsend. Speaking to AFP, she said:
“I was always jealous to see my sisters and others had longer and bigger noses while my nose was small and flat,”
”Now that I have a bigger nose, I feel more comfortable and satisfied,” she explained.
Although the surgeries only provide a superficial change to individuals, the rise of such procedures in Afghan society indicates a deeper change in the social fabric. With relative calm and the ability to travel, Afghans can focus on their more frivolous side.
Is the rise of cosmetic surgery in Afghanistan a good sign? Or is it sad that women feel pressure to change their appearance? Tell us what you think below.
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