Iran is the tenth highest consumer of cosmetic surgery in the world. Botox, lip augmentation, upper eyelid surgery, nose jobs and eye lift procedures are all increasingly popular as women strive to achieve a particular notion of beauty. A leading Iranian psychologist ties the rising rate of surgery to falling self-esteem.
Physical beauty is a growing obsession in Iran. Perhaps this is not surprising when we recognise that vast numbers of Iranian women are told their whole lives that their primary purpose is to find a husband. Elam’s women’s ministry team regularly hears ladies saying that they believe they are ‘worth nothing if they are not beautiful’. They have never before been told that their true worth and beauty comes not from their physical appearance but from their heart.
As the demand for cosmetic procedures has grown, the number of cheaper alternatives - illegal and nonstandard operations - has grown as well. Health risks abound for those tempted to seek the help of unlicensed doctors.
But as Iranians come to Christ, He is wonderfully transforming both men and women's understanding of beauty and worth. Of course, Iranians are not alone in having confused ideas about beauty, nor are they the only ones who need healing for damaged self-esteem. Let’s pray that Christ will lead each of us into a deeper hunger for the true beauty of Christ-likeness.