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Image by: Greg Warner 

Nose as Destiny

From: Bending Borders
Series: Love is Complicated
Length: 04:46

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Plastic surgery is growing in Afghanistan and more and more women see it as the key to their fate.

Nose-like-a-fist1_small In Afghanistan, a man and woman may meet each other for the first time at the marriage altar.  And when the groom pulls back the veil and does not like what he sees, he can send the woman back -- shamed and tainted-- back to her family.  To avoid such a fate, more woman are considereing plastic surgery in Kabul.  This is an intimate look at the fear that prompts this.  Reporter Greg Warner aand the courage of one woman who is accompanied by the reporter into the surgeon's office.

Piece Description

In Afghanistan, a man and woman may meet each other for the first time at the marriage altar.  And when the groom pulls back the veil and does not like what he sees, he can send the woman back -- shamed and tainted-- back to her family.  To avoid such a fate, more woman are considereing plastic surgery in Kabul.  This is an intimate look at the fear that prompts this.  Reporter Greg Warner aand the courage of one woman who is accompanied by the reporter into the surgeon's office.

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Great piece

Especially for a western audience, it's surprising to hear about Middle Eastern women, who we often see as being conservative as Quakers, being concerned about their appearance. Interestingly enough, my wife was watching Sex and the City 2 late last night, and the subject of fashion in Abu Dhabi was addressed in the movie. After watching the movie and hearing this piece, I wonder if anything of the silliness in the movie is true.

Transcript

BODY:

Since she was 12, Benafsha was sure that, if not for the shape of her nose, she’d be beautiful.

DARI

Mostly it was my sister that would mention it. When we got in arguments she’d say, your nose is like the fist of a cat!

Benafsha is Hazara, the asian featured ethnic minority. In Afghanistan, the beauty standard is Persian. Or Indian. Straight noses hook better marriages.

Of course! Girls have to beautiful for marriage. They can’t be too dark skinned or have noses that are too flat. When people come to find girls to marry their sons, they don’t like girls with noses like I had.

So the winter she turned 19, Benafsha collected the 60 dollars she’d saved. Borrowed another 200 from her uncles, and took it to a crumbling building in downtown Kabul, to a private clinic, smelling faintly of formaldehyde.

In a back room, formerly a wealthy Afghan’s kitchen, the cabinets now jammed...
Read the full transcript

Intro and Outro

INTRO:

OUTRO:

This story was produced by Bending Borders.org as part of the Global Story Project, with support from the Open Society Foundations. Presented by PRX, the Public Radio Exchange.

Related Website

http://bendingborders.org/