false pride: can't smell fool's gold



           Despite being a country in which police have the authority of seizing any kind of facial cosmetic, Iran is the nose job capital of the world. Maintaining the highest rate of rhinoplasty in the world per capita (200,000 out of 77 million population), it exceeds the U.S. four times over. Although a considerable emphasis is placed on the Iranian woman, this is copious in men as well as teenagers who will undergo this process three or four times. The nose-job men and women of Persian descent are nothing to marvel anymore, yet this spectacle has many layers unseen and unpronounced. 
           The cost for a small, slightly curved, narrow-tipped nose is high, fortifying the gravity of beauty to the Persian population. Compared to the 157 licensed cosmetic practitioners, there are nearly 7,000 carrying out these procedures, frequently leading to botched operations of malformation, respiratory problems, sinus pain, loss of smell, etc. The consequences of health are usually accompanied by an additional expense of monetary debt. It has often been attributed to the Persian Revolution but I find closer ties to white normativity’s ability to maintain dominance in standards of beauty. The mandatory hijab allows only a small oval to function as the sole display of beauty and self-expression; this factors into self-esteem and marriageability, ensuing tendencies to delicate European features. The bandage is then seen as a status of honor, in some ways even a rite of passage, representing new beauty as well an able, affluent family.
            As a proud Persian woman, I do not adhere to this inclined desire. Some in my family have complied with these dogmatic standards, but I never truly understood or condoned it for myself. So I molded my own nose- something that I used to examine with resentment, but now regard as part of something beautiful. Driven by European influence, these people find pride in the assimilation to the outside world, something ironic for people who repeatedly prefer the airy title of “Persian” (not to be mistaken with “Iranian”). For this reason, I masked the nose with gold, one of the biggest and gaudiest sources of pride in my culture; however was careful to represent this with fake, easily tarnished gold leaf.
            In my eyes, removing the “Persian” dorsal hump, hooked nose, is diluting one’s cultural identity. This is not to ostracize the individual and limit their freedom but to draw attention to the modern standards of beauty and their subjectivity in the whole- leaving the question remaining: are you more Persian with or without it?









stands about 2.5 feet tall

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