tehranbureau An independent source of news on Iran and the Iranian diaspora

Nose Job


26 May 2010 22:4521 Comments

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About the photographer -


Fabio Bucciarelli is a photographer with LaPresse and collaborates with the independent Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper. Born in Turin, Italy, in 1980, Fabio studied at Universidad Politécnica de Valencia and Politecnico di Torino, where he received an MS in Communication Engineering in 2006.

From 2003 to 2007 he lived in Spain, where he studied photojournalism with Philip Blenkinsop, Noor and Chien-Chi Chang from Magnum Photos, among others.

Fabio traveled to Iran in 2009 for the thirtieth anniversary of the 1979 revolution. His photos, which captured a society torn between modernity and tradition, hinted of things to come. In this photo essay, Fabio concentrated on a national obsession -- nose jobs.

Copyright © 2010 Fabio Bucciarelli

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It is a sad state of affairs brought about by the Islamic regime. The post revolution youth have no identity to be proud of. All that was once Iranian is either convoluted or replaced by the Islamist ideology that they hate.

Morphing their appearance within the confines of the Islamist hypocritical rules of dress and conduct is their way of escaping the identity forced on them.

Maziar Irani / May 26, 2010 6:03 AM

Fabio's photos are great. But I would refrain from calling the nose job a "national obsession". Go anywhere outside of Tehran and the wealthier neighborhoods in just a handful of big cities, and there is no nose job in sight.

Iran has been getting this much media attention on this issue because every other journalist that goes to Iran barely gets out of North Tehran at worst, Tehran/Esfahan/Shiraz at best, and so they generalize and generalize about everything they see.

And Maziar, I've seen photos of my family's school days. They lived in an affluent area of Khuzestan, and half the school administration (principles, teachers, etc) had had nose jobs. Please! Farah herself had more plastic surgery than Michael Jackson and half of Hollywood combined. If you compare her wedding photos to those which she took prior to leaving Iran, she is almost unrecognizable ... If anything, she had a lot to do with setting this trend. So blaming this solely on the revolution or "Islamist hypocritical rule" is going to get you nowhere.

Pedestrian / May 26, 2010 5:48 PM

@ maziar:

And what's the excuse for Hollywood?

I think you're over-reading into the simple fact that Iranians are addicted to cosmetic surgery (the trend actually started before the revolution), just as they are to beauty salons, laser hair removal, lasic eye surgery, botox, etc.

The nose job epidemic has nothing to do with identity, and everything to do with image obsession, a la LA.

Amir / May 26, 2010 6:49 PM

Indeed, if it was solely the Islamic Republic than no Iranian outside of the country would have a nose-job.

Sahand / May 26, 2010 7:31 PM


Thhis from Press TV: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=123881§ionid=3510212

Latest figures have revealed that Iran, with the highest number of cosmetic nose operations, ranks first in rhinoplasty in the world.

According to Seyyed Javad Amirizad, a chair member of the Iranian Association of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeons, Iran is the center of rhinoplasty in the world and is home to the best surgeons in this field.

He added that nose jobs account for about 70 percent of the cosmetic operations performed in the country.

Kati / May 26, 2010 7:42 PM

Nose jobs in the Islamic Republic of Iran are a near equivalent to orthodontic braces here in California. For the kids in our family and their peer group, braces are seen as a social status symbol, just like nose jobs in Iran. And you can't argue with the results. Rhinoplasty has improved the looks of many of these Iranian young adults.

Iranian rhinoplasty really is an equivalent to orthodontic braces. Like braces, it shouldn't be criticized or ridiculed.

Pirouz / May 26, 2010 8:11 PM

Kati, I have seen that article. I'm not sure what it has to do with my post.

1) what does "ranks first in rhinoplasty in the world" even mean? per capita? just in terms of #s? Our population has more than doubled in the past 30 years so just "ranks first" makes no sense at all.

2) Why are Iranians outside the country going back to Iran for the summer to get nose jobs?

3) I never denied that there is lots of plastic surgery, I'm just not sure the focus on Iran is very accurate or calling it a "national obsession" (plastic surgery also has a big following in South Korea, Gulf countries, Lebanon, etc, etc ) so I'm not sure where Iran would rank if we were to look at it in proportion to the population ... unless you consider Beverly Hills to be a good representative of the United States.

4) I reiterate: go to smaller towns and cities, you will not see one single nose job. I've been at least half a dozen, other than Shiraz, Esfahan, Tehran, etc and I never saw a single person with surgery. That is not meant to be any statistical proof, but that as Amin points out this is more about image obsession, a la LA and Hollywood and about people who can afford it. More simple: compare rates of plastic surgery in North and South Tehran. You don't have to be a statistician to see the difference.

Pedestrian / May 26, 2010 8:16 PM

I thought Lebanon was the rhinoplasty capital of the world, with the best cosmetic surgeons.

Have the "Islamist hypocritical rules of dress and conduct" afflicted the scantily-clad hedonists of Beirut also, sagacious Maziar?

Ali from Tehran / May 26, 2010 9:49 PM

In a country which everything is covered but face, and when everything is judged by face!, no one goes deep down to see behind problems. When selection of a partner is just based on appearance,(specially in traditional way, which mother of the boy is the one who proposed to mother of the girl,) or even selecting a boyfriend/ girlfriend is based on the visiting in just the face, what do you expect???? for sure Iran must be the number one in using makeup materials or nose job.

Fafar / May 26, 2010 10:38 PM

Fafar, as a young Iranian, I respectfully, but fully & completely disagree with you. You are mixing up a bunch of different things.

Traditional courtships (khastegari) are not specific to Iran. They span the globe. You can critique them, rip them apart, etc, but it has nothing to do with "in a country which everything is covered" or a specific government.

how do people in any other country, hijab or not, select "boyfriends" or "girlfriends"? Unless it's through a one night stand, it's through first encounters and first impressions. first conversations and faces.

I'm not saying forced veiling has no part in any of this, of course it does. But forced veiling is irrelevant to the heart of the matter.

Pedestrian / May 26, 2010 11:15 PM

Many cultures believe that the size of the nose indicates the level of libido. So, if you can't satisfy that rampant urge, you might as well reduce its public indicator.
But guys, be careful, a nose job may reduce you libido, as you can't take in as much oxygen while making love. Imagine having to use a pair of oxygen masks in bed, or limit your sessions to oxygen tents. hmmmm... maybe we can market that in Iran.

Karen Danielson / May 27, 2010 5:29 PM

Hi Y'all
I really think most of these posts are pretty much right on and they all are pointing to some aspects of this nose-job issue.

In a nutshell i think that younger folks in Iran like to be as much attractive as possible, be it for courship, social competition, sheer need for feeling better about themselves or be more happier...etc. If you look around, which in my case means looking at the internet!, and search for an insight into the young Iranians life back home you will notice that its not just the nose-job that seem to be grabbing your attention. Just take a closer look at their outfits and they way they dress and make their hairs...etc. There are some cases that even in west might be construed as excess and when you see excess you got to realize that it might actually be indeed a good sign of "compensation strategy".
I dont think what we see today in iran, as manifested in stuff like nose-job, is a compelling sign of a full-blown national identity crisis but at the same time there are times that when i see pictures from Iran , i feel like saying "What the hell...".

At the end, i think Iranian kids really need to be set free to chose whatever they want to do with their life. Sure a complete freedom might not be what all of us might agree on but for those who do, nose-job is just another way to live a better social life and perhaps more....

PersianTraveler / May 27, 2010 10:48 PM

@Amir Everything is relative. As the author pointed out, the relative numbers of nose jobs in Iran is much higher and certainly a lot higher than 30 years ago. This does not correlate with celebrities having nose jobs.

Nose job is only one visible symptom of Religious Hypocrisy. There are many others, all pointing to corruption of social values.
Some other social factors to consider are, incidents of theft, divorce and prostitution to name a few.

Maziar Irani / May 28, 2010 12:09 AM

OK, let's not over-complicate this. Iranians in general have bigger noses than considered attractive by the new standards of attractiveness that movies and magazines have defined.

Iranian youth would love to have a lot of things that their peers in affluent countries possess. So they prioritize their wishes. For some that means convertible BMWs, brand-name clothing (real ones, not knockoffs) great parties, etc.

For others all they can afford is the nose job. I know a family who took a loan on their house to pay for a nose job for their daughter, which of course improved her ability to marry a richer husband quite a bit.

Others in smaller towns and villages cannot afford any of those, so they put cool stripes on their bicycles or buy new shoes to wear to the mosque prayers (they take them off by the door so everyone can see)!

As someone pointed out it's like braces in the west which BTW I don't recall ever seeing when I was a kid in Iran but have also become very popular now. Same thing with whitening the teeth or using contacts.

We all do what we can afford to do to improve our own self-esteem....I gotta go call my Friday night Escort Service now!!!

Bahman / May 29, 2010 12:55 AM

Maybe there are more nose jobs now than 30 years back, because people have more money now! take that to the bank, hah

Madali / May 29, 2010 12:27 PM

I find truth in many of the good comments above, thanks. It's a complicated issue and you all have described some of its facets; no need to argue who is more right, IMO.

My two cents to add: We are not unique in this, but I think culturally, us Iranians are kind of obsessed with beauty, a bit too much for my taste. Parents tend to tell their little girls how beautiful they are from an early age; we comment on how beautiful someone is, our poetry, etc. So naturally, we seek this--sometimes to a bit unhealthy extent in terms of being superficial and taxing--in ourselves, our partners, etc. (I am not condemning nose jobs BTW--I think it's harmless, mostly). I, too, look at some of the pictures of mostly upper class Iranians and say, what the hell... It was the same from my days living in Iran before the revolution, but I think now that the face is more 'important', it's even more so.

Naturally, we tend to look towards Western concepts of beauty more--the prevalence of media, and a bit of inferiority complex involved there. And status symbols: we tend to like them like some other Asian cultures--you see this also in Tokyo, Beijing, Moscow.

Maybe a future that is more free for our youth would reduce some of these pressures, would offer more creative avenues for self fulfillment, to channel some of these desires and insecurities in more constructive (IMO) ways.

Kaveh / May 29, 2010 10:04 PM

Grande Grande,

Me alegro de ver tu trabajo publicado!

Sigue así!!!!

Un abrazo.

Guille / May 30, 2010 4:15 PM

I like my nose

Radical_Guy / May 30, 2010 9:22 PM

Iranian people are physically beautiful people. Only in extreme cases would it make sense to get a nose job.

Silvia / June 1, 2010 1:40 AM

Please all the women of Iran hear my plea
your noses are so beautiful
keep them the way they are !

Pasquale Cangiano / June 3, 2010 9:24 PM

I had my nose operation 2 years ago and it has changed my job. I think it improved my self steam and i certainly feel more confident with myself. I feel more beautiful and that's what others tell me as well!
I had my operation with Dr Lajevardi and he was great. His work is fantastic and he treats his patients very kindly. Since my operation 3 of my friends have also had their operations with hims and they are all very satisfied. I strongly recommend you consult him if you are considering having a nose operation. His website is www.drlajevardi.com
All the best

Sara / June 28, 2010 4:14 PM