Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

That Immortal Persian Beauty

My local paper ran an interesting feature article today about the very high emphasis that women place on their looks in - of all places - Iran. It begins as follows:
Kill me but make me beautiful.

It may be an ancient Iranian saying, but women here are taking it as seriously as ever.

They want smaller noses. They want highlights in their hair, even though the Islamic government calls for it to be covered by a roosary, or headscarf, in public. And they'll do just about anything to remove the hair from everywhere else on their bodies.

In dozens of interviews over the past three weeks, a clear majority of women said this pursuit is not some Western ideal of beauty, but an Iranian one that has existed for centuries. Iranian women, they said, just happen to care a lot about the way they look.
Two thoughts occurred to me when reading this. First, that gals going to rather extreme lengths in pursuit of perfect beauty - or at least of the perfect guy - is nothing new around those parts. As we read in the Book of Esther (2:12):
And when each maiden's turn arrived to go to King Ahasuerus, after having been treated according to the practice prescribed for the women, for twelve months, for so were the days of their ointments completed, six months with myrrh oil, and six months with perfumes, and with the ointments of the women.
Compared to a year in the ointment bath, what's a little tummy tuck or nose job?

My other insight is that it seems no matter how rigid and tyrannical a society is, there is only so much restrictiveness the common man - and woman - will take. Perhaps the willingness of these otherwise disempowered Iranian ladies to risk Mullah-ish disapproval, rather than give up their facials and plastic surgeries, is a hopeful sign for eventual societal change in that most dangerous of regimes.

After all, better a cosmetic revolution than no revolution at all.


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