Iran is a world leader in plastic surgery, with as many as 200,000 Iranians a year electing to get nose jobs, according to a report from the Guardian’s Tehran bureau.
Despite the high cost of cosmetic surgery procedures, which can run up to five to six times the average monthly wage, Iran has a plastic surgery rate similar to that of Brazil, where cosmetic surgery is so prevalent that doctors offer low-income discounts.
The number of nose jobs per capita in Iran is seven times that of the US, and Iranians are beginning to have other procedures such as tummy tucks and face lifts, the report said. One woman cited in the report received a bank loan to purchase a car, but then sold the car to pay for her cosmetic surgery, which was her plan all along.
Evidently, part of the push for surgery is in reaction to the restrictions imposed by the compulsory hijab for women in the Islamic Republic. “It’s human nature to want to seek out attention with a beautiful figure, hair, skin… but hijab doesn’t let you do that,” one woman said. “So we have to satisfy that instinct by displaying our ‘art’ on our faces.”
Even men are getting in on the act. One man, who works in the cosmetics industry, said that his nose job helped to attract more customers. “They all come to me when they want to purchase cosmetic supplies, so I have to look nice and spiffy for them,” he said.
According to one study cited, there are only 157 licensed cosmetic surgeons in Tehran, yet around 7,000 people are actually performing surgeries, with the lack of oversight leading to greater chances of a botched operation or unforeseen side effects.
One family counselor said that around 30 percent of plastic surgery recipients are unsatisfied with the procedure for various reasons. “Some may have had tense, problematic childhoods. Thus they suffer from low self-esteem and resort to these surgeries because they think it will lead to a better, more enjoyable social life,” he said.