Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Lebanese nose

 [photo courtesy: Flickr Creative Commons: ssh]

The heroine in the final book of the "Magical" series Magical Redemption is Lebanese and this time, she is the Genie. I decided to choose Lebanese because my previous two Genies were Turkish, and wanted something different. I also really wanted a typical Lebanese nose for her. I wanted my female Genie to be distinct, striking, and unconventionally beautiful  - and a big beautiful Lebanese nose fit the picture nicely. I did not want her to be a carbon copy of Jeanie from I dream of Genie,  nor did I want her to be like Cyrine Abdel Nour (though she is absolutely gorgeous and I love her music). So I went searching for a lovely large Lebanese nose.
On thing I love doing when writing a book is googling things, and I have been absolutely floored by the amount of information available on the internet about Lebanese noses. Allow me enlighten you!

"The noses of the Lebanese, convex in profile in 53 per cent of the group, have usually a slight to medium nasion depression, a high, medium to broad root, and a high, broad bridge; the tip is of moderate thickness in most cases, and usually elevated; the wings are seldom compressed. Their foreheads usually have little slope, their browridges are of moderate development;"

It seems that the Lebanese nose is also under threat, a significant proportion of young Lebanese women are going under the knife to make their noses smaller.

In 1965, the Lebanese Society of Plastic,Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery had six surgeons. Today it has 40 ­ the number of specialists in the field has risen in direct proportion to demand. All agree that Lebanon is a nation preoccupied with the pursuit of the perfect nose.

Not everyone views the nose job quite so lightly. For nose-conscious Cherine Fahd, an Australian artist of Lebanese origin who is heading the fight to preserve the Lebanese nose in all its original glory, the nose job is a fashion statement with more sinister implications.

In Beirut for the Sydney-Beirut/Beirut-Sydney contemporary art exhibition, she makes plaster molds of Lebanese noses that will be displayed in an exhibition to be held in Sydney later this year. She’s cast about 100 noses so far and hopes to preserve another 100 before the exhibition ends.

The nose project started out as a way of examining identity, “I was shocked by the number of people who have had nose jobs here,” says the fresh faced 25-year-old artist, who is proud to point out that her nose has never been touched by surgical hands. “I think it’s a shame because it’s a denial of who you are.”

But Fahd says that her artistic project has taken on another dimension. Finding an original Lebanese nose is difficult and her exhibition aims to redress the balance. Instead of deriding that much maligned feature, she is determined to celebrate it.

“This is an important project for me,” she says flicking through a local magazine filled with society pictures of people Fahd is convinced have had nose jobs. Just about every woman in every photo has had a white nose drawn over her own to indicate that what you see is not what that person was born with.

Fahd shrugs her shoulders and says that whilst she understands the desire to have a small nose, she doesn’t agree with it. The Lebanese nose is a distinctive feature that should be shown off rather than shorn off the face. “The ideal nose for me is large. In fact, the bigger the nose, the better,” she says defiantly. Fahd adds that this is not just the case with the Lebanese in Lebanon. “I see it with the Lebanese population all over the world: In Sydney or the States too. You have to ask yourself: Why?”

If you want to read the whole article: you can check it out here:

Large noses are iconic, just look at Barbara Streisand, Maria Callas, Sarah Jessica Parker even Anne Hathaway and Sofia Coppola.

There is a french proverb that says "a big nose never spoiled a pretty face" and I think it's true. However, in researching this blog, I failed to come up with a really nice image of woman with a Lebanese nose (that didn't look like it had been worked on, or had been taken in someones bedroom :S)

Anyway, here's to Lebanese noses, may they stay strong just as nature intended :)

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