Afghan Women Now Seek Beauty with Doctors’ Help

January 3, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. cosmetic surgery (n.) 
[koz-met-ik] [sur-juh-ree]– surgery or medical treatment to improve a person’s appearance
Example: Some women who are unsatisfied with their bodies choose to have cosmetic surgery.

2. disfigurement (n.) [dis-fig-yer-muhnt; British dis-fig-er-muhnt]– damaged appearance
Example: Surgery would save the patient’s life but would also cause facial disfigurement.

3. pursuit (n.) [per-soot]– effort done to get or to have something
Example: Many people start their own business in the pursuit of profit.

4. thanks to (expr.) [thangks] [too]– because of, with the help of
ExampleThanks to the doctor’s quick judgment, the patient’s life was saved.

5. liberal (adj.) [lib-er-uhl, lib-ruhl]– open or accepting of change, freedom, or ways that are not traditional
Example: City people are generally more liberal than people who live in the countryside.

Read the text below.

An increasing number of Afghan women are undergoing cosmetic surgery to make themselves look more beautiful.

In the past, women living in Afghanistan mostly underwent reconstructive surgery to fix scars and disfigurements. These disfigurements were a result of war, domestic abuse (violence from their own family members), and self-immolation (setting fire to one’s own body). Self-immolation is done by Afghan women who have lost hope of escaping problems such as domestic abuse and poverty.

Recently, however, there has been an increasing demand for cosmetic procedures in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital. The most requested cosmetic procedure is the nose lift. Facelifts, breast enhancements, and tummy tucks have also become popular.

In Dr. Aminullah Hamkar’s clinic, two cosmetic procedures are performed every week. Dr. Hamkar says the increase in cosmetic procedures is a positive sign. The pursuit of beauty is done only in times of peace, he explains.

Afghanistan may now be moving past the time of war and violence brought by the 1979 to 1989 Soviet-Afghan war and by the military rule of the Taliban after.

The country has a growing middle-class, thanks to people around the world who have sent billions of dollars to help the citizens of Afghanistan. Those in the middle-class are now looking toward Iran, Dubai and Europe for beauty trends.

More Afghans are also traveling to other countries and learning about cultures different from their own. Dr. Hakmar says that many people who return from more liberal countries to their conservative Afghanistan have changed views on life, sex, and beauty.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you believe that Afghanistan is becoming a more peaceful country? Why do you think so?
·         What are some other pursuits or activities that people can focus on during times of peace?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think appearance is very important to some people?
·         What is your opinion on cosmetic surgery? Should people avoid it? Please explain your answer.


January 3, 2013