Masculinity and men in the Middle East

· Culture, Popular culture


Moustaches in the Middle East are a fascinating topic. The above picture is of a young Persian man. Notice the perfection of his beard. He looks well-groomed, and trimmed with the facial hair offsetting the perfect complexion of his skin. I know several Arabs and Persians who have similarly impressive goatees and beards, so the article that I am about to summarize surprised me greatly. It is very different from my experience.




The article, found at, describes how many men in the Middle East are having plastic surgery to implant hair from other parts of their bodies to their upper lips. These men want to appear more masculine because they believe that confers power on them. Turkey is one area where a lot of these surgeries supposedly take place.




I think this article is probably exaggerated, and almost seems like an advertisement for the techniques it describes to improve the quality of facial hair. It seems unlikely that in a culture where men have perfect facial hair even when they are teens, that men would have to resort to such hard work for a perfect beard. One of my Canadian friends, who is an ESL teacher in Saudi Arabia, is in his 30s and is sad that he can’t achieve the thick, luxurious facial hair of your typical Middle Eastern teenager.




One of the interesting things about the article is that I learned the following: in the Middle East, moustaches represent a man’s personal honour. They denote wisdom and maturity. In a fight between two men in the Middle East, the removal of the other man’s moustache signifies a substantial victory over his competitor.




In my opinion, Middle Eastern men are far more masculine than Canadian men, for example, although of course there are examples of masculinity in every culture. Middle Eastern men seem far more protective of women than their Western counterparts, and that is perhaps the best example of masculinity that there is.




What do you think, does the article reflect reality or not? 


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