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You don't need a nose job unless you have problems breathing

Sophia Loren is one of the most beautiful actresses Hollywood has ever seen, but even she faced early criticism about her looks. In fact, in the early fifties, the (now) 79-year-old star almost gave up on her acting dreams because movie execs didn't think she had the right looks for a film star, explains the AOL On video, "Sophia Loren Was Told Her Mouth Was "Too Big," She Needed a Shorter Nose for a Movie Career." The trend can also affect some plastic surgeons who approach teenage girls and offer to bob their noses. Too many plastic surgeons are telling patients, "I can whack that hump off your nose," when the nose shape is not related to breathing problems, but to the stereotyped Hollywood images.

Nose bobbing trends and health issues.
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The entertainment image of past films focused on starring women in films with short, concave noses, but giving males with long, convex noses starring roles. There seemed to arise in magazines, movies, and modeling, the stereotypes of a feminine and a masculine nose. In fact, a lot of women equated a man with a hook nose to also being well endowed and a woman with a short nose to a supermodel or film star.

The result became more business for lots of plastic surgeons from teenage girls in high school having noses bobbed before entering college. In the 1950s, some of the plastic surgeons were famous for giving new high-school graduates similar nose bobs known as the ski-slope nose. You may wish to checkout the article, "Narrowing the nose doesn't lift the self-esteem for many multiracial women." Even Marilyn Monroe was said to have had a nose bob. You may wish to check out the article, "Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Unheralded Marilyn Monroe."

A well known plastic surgeon traveled to Armenia at the invitation of Saint Nerses Hospital, to donate plastic surgeries to three finalists in the "Most Armenian Nose Contest." The competition was created to raise funds for a new surgery wing at the hospital. This is a wonderful cause, to give three free plastic surgeries to people most in need of surgical repair of their noses that have caused great obstacles in their lives.

The idea of a “Most Armenian Nose Contest” is to find a nose that had no compliance with the specific person’s face in the opinion of the judges. Within a week of announcing the contest, about 200 contestants entered. The hospital received around 30 applicants each day. See the "Most Armenian Nose Contest" article on the Cosmetic site.

The article reports, "In a land of larger noses, why would anybody want to make their own nose smaller? Many, it turns out, at least in Armenia where a contest was recently held to find the most Armenian nose." In Iran, women often visit plastic surgeons in college to bob noses. You may wish to see the article, "Iran is named the nose job capital of world with SEVEN times more procedures than the U.S. - but the rise in unlicensed surgeons poses a huge risk. Or see, "Iran: Nose Job Capital Of World - CBS News."

In the Armenian nose contest held several years ago, the noses were reshaped by plastic surgery according to the standards of beauty chosen by the country for the human face. The three finalists claimed they had noses that had become an obstacle due to appearance and size. The first winner had his nose broken five times throughout his lifetime before he entered the contest to have corrective plastic surgery.

The idea of raising funds for a hospital is wonderful. And the idea of repairing noses that were interfering with breathing and/or becoming an obstacle is great. But the problem is there is no such ethnicity as “the most Armenian nose.” Countries that traditionally have long-nosed people often brag that their countries have the longest noses, for example Iran, Armenia, Kurdistan, Georgia, and Turkey. Actually the longest noses in history are said to originate with the Hittites migrating from Caucasus to the Middle East thousands of years ago and establishing their capital in Central Turkey. Then again, you have East Sicilians sometimes claiming to have the longest noses in Europe. In fact, in Brooklyn's "little Italy" of the 1950s, there was a concept of having a "Neapolitan nose," compared to a "Roman nose."

An illustration of the medieval Italian poet, Dante Alleghieri was held up to someone's nose to compare the difference between areas of Italy to the shape of the nose, more convex in certain areas, and said to be more 'poetic' or 'operatic' based on length, or the nose was said to measure the intelligence, all stereotypes of noses compared to historic paintings. Italy is one of the most diverse countries in Europe. The winner of the longest, most convex nose contest was treated to a meal, at least in certain neighborhoods. The reality is that the ethnic groups have been diverse for generations.

So with all the talk of noses, why do some young plastic surgeons in the USA where diversity is supposed to be diverse, approach teenage girls and offer to "whack that hump off their nose"? It can give a teenager a self-esteem issue and make her conscious of her looks, since doctors don't approach males as frequently with offers of nose bobs, unless the boy makes an appointment with his physician first to talk about nose issues or changes. Usually, it's women approached first by doctors or often teenagers, since it takes money in the USA for plastic surgery, and parental consent for high-school 'girls'.

How do other ethnic groups feel about the idea of a most (name your ethnic group) nose contest? Or even depictions of convex noses on Halloween masks and witch statues and dolls that decorate almost all the shopping mall windows and gift shops around Halloween each year?

The problem is that convex noses are associated with certain holidays, witches, masculine noses on womens' faces, and specific ethnic groups that have high frequencies of nose convexity, but don't wish it caricatured in cartoons or stereotyped as in need of plastic surgery--only because the nose tip is convex and the tip is downturned.

If your nose works fine, but you don't like the shape, should you bob your nose to be beautiful, or is the convex nose by itself, a sign of beauty, especially in women? In the marriage market, most women with convex noses find husbands. But what about those most (ethnic group) nose contests for fundraising? Would you want to see this type of contest applied to your particular ethnic group?

Why the most Armenian nose contest? To raise funds for a hospital. But why the term, Armenian? It’s because the nation of Armenia is made up of many different faces with many different nose shapes, and no one particular nose type is indigenous to Armenia, the Adriatic region, NW Greece, Sicily, Southern Italy, NW Caucasus, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, the Levant, Georgia, Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or NW India—although the convex nose shape is frequently found in all those areas. And the convexity is not a deformity. It’s just a variation of nose shapes and just as attractive in the eyes of many.

If any plastic surgeon who said he "wants to take the hump off your nose" ran a most you name the ethnic group contest offering to do plastic surgery on the nose to raise funds for a hospital or other medical cause or to volunteer, you'd be thunderstruck that plastic surgery had been linked to a particular type of nose found at higher frequencies in any specific ethnic groups.

For example, how would you feel if someone ran a "most Jewish nose contest." You'd feel threatened and annoyed at the stereotype that refers to those cartoon-characters in World War II Nazi propaganda films such as "Triumph of the Will." There's no such thing as a nose with a religious affiliation any more than there's an immediately recognizable Iranian nose or Sicilian nose connotation. Noses of different shapes run in families, and anyone can be born with any shaped nose anytime.

The same thing would happen if a doctor ran a "most Sicilian nose contest" as convex noses are found at higher frequencies also in Sicily. But no one would think about a "most Swedish nose contest" or a "most Irish pug nose contest." All these labels are obnoxious because they single out a particular ethnicity, religion, or name of a nation. Check out the variety in nose shapes in various Celtic areas of the world. You find the Cornish nose sometimes is convex as are other shapes throughout Britain.

No one offered to whack the hump off actors with convex noses of the past such as the British actor, Jack Hawkins, who played the part of an Egyptian king in one movie because he had a "Mediterranean nose." The convex nose also used to be called the Roman nose and the aquiline nose. But would a woman with a similar nose shape get a starring role with the exception of Barbara Streisand's famous nose that never needed bobbing because the shape gave her character and fame?

The convex, downturned nose tip shape of the nose in question also is the 16th to 19th century defining feature of the Hapsburg Empire of Austria and Hungary referred to as the Hapsburg lip and nose shape. King Philip IV of Spain also had the the Hapsburg lip and convex nose shape. In the 16th and 17th centuries the combined feature was held as a sign of descent from European kings and ancient Roman royalty.

It’s found all over Austria. And it also shows up in Wales, Cornwall, S.W. England, and Bavaria. It’s also called the Hittite nose, referring to its surmised origin with the Hittites that settled in Anatolia (Cappadocia) from areas in Europe, speaking an Indo European language.

The genetic way to inherit a convex nose is when a round-headed parent and a long-headed parent marry and have a child. That child is genetically predisposed to inheriting a large, convex nose, shortened or flat back of the head with a narrow skull shape on the sides, and narrow forehead, face, and chin.

The jaw may be oval or slightly square. It is not limited to any particular ethnic group or nationality. The face and nose shape is found throughout all of Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Central and S.W.Asia, including India.

It is not specific to Jews or Arabs, Armenians, Iranians, Greeks, or Italians. There have been too many stereotypical cartoons with the purpose of belittling or diminishing the person with the big nose.

Although large noses were made famous by comedian/actor Jimmy Durante referring to his big Italian nose as the Schnozzola, or Lebanese-American TV comedian/actor Danny Thomas referring on TV shows to his convex Lebanese nose. A problem arises when people are discriminated against in housing because their nose is shaped like a stereotyped cartoon of one ethnic group or another.

In a 1971 episode of the TV situation comedy, "All in the Family," the character, Archie Bunker puts his finger to his nose and curls his finger into the shape of a convex nose as canned laughter wells up in the comedy scene as he refers to a person from a particular ethnic group.

Nose shape might have caused an uproar in the past when it was attributed to one ethnic group or another. For example, according to the article, “Flaw in the Jewel: Housing Discrimination Against Jews in La Jolla, CA,”—American Jewish History 84:3 (1996) 189-219, when Dr. Jonas Salk, the first Jew to move to La Jolla, CA moved next door to a non-Jew, that person put his/her house on the market.

Too many people jump to conclusions about people based only on nose shape

People seeing others with convex noses that they haven’t met before may automatically jump to the conclusion that the person is Jewish or Iranian. But the highest frequency of convex noses on ancient peoples is found on the royal Egyptian pharaohs and on ancient Assyrian and Persian sculptures, and in northern Europe in Scotland and the far west of Ireland.

In Poland where 3.3 million Jews lived before World War II, Polish Christians rub the nose of the statue of a famous Jewish author for good luck. They also keep little figurines of red-haired Jewish scholars and rabbis in their home to bring in good fortune. Many of the figurines have convex noses.

In the USA, the convex nose statues are placed on Halloween witches, usually with black or red hair, but the witches convex noses are of ancient Celtic origin. Convex noses and dark hair are found frequently in the Cornwall area of England, a Celtic enclave, and in Wales.

Plastic surgery on your nose is right if something really is wrong with your nose, not just because it has a convex shape that turns down at the tip. That’s not defined as ugly. It’s just a variation. But, of course, it’s up to an individual’s perception of himself as to whether that person thinks the nose will prevent the quality of life the person wants such as a job promotion. So the answer lies with the individual’s preference.

For those who have convex noses, the thought is if everyone with a nose that has a downturned tip had their nose bobbed, then people with convex noses would be much rarer and therefore, more likely to be discriminated against in the workplace, for housing in some areas, and in the marriage market.

One woman’s war against teenage nose bobbing noted, “I’m always hiding my face with my hands, scared to panic that someone will see my Persian, Armenian, Hittite, Roman nose and automatically react with violence because everyone knows what a Jewish nose is supposed to look like.”

On the other hand, few know what a Persian, Armenian, or Roman nose is supposed to be. Is there the same stereotype—which is a normal, convex nose with a downturned tip? What’s wrong or right about a long nose? The ancient Hittite nose is a feature portrayed as native to Anatolia, Syria, and Northern Iraq that appeared in Neolithic times. It’s seen on the great Persian and Assyrian sculptures and rock friezes in art from three thousand years ago. But the actual ancient Hittites were immigrants from Europe to central Anatolia.

There’s no such protuberance as a “Jewish nose” any more than there’s something called a “Christian nose” or a “Buddhist nose.” A convex nose is the result of a round headed parent marrying a long-headed parent in any country.

The child born of a parent with the genes for at least 33 to 50 percent round, short-headedness and a parent with the genes for at least 33 to 50 percent of long, low-skulled heads as seen in some Northern and Southern European countries, the Middle East, or Persia will create a child with a different type of skull—flat in the back (occiput) with a long, convex nose.

That child can come from any country. You see this type frequently in Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France, the Adriatic, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, the Balkans, and anywhere else that short-headed people have married long-headed people of any religion or nation. In races other than Caucasian, you get the same result: short heads married to long heads beget children with large, convex noses and flat backs of the heads (occiputs) much of the time.

Ask someone to draw a Jewish nose and you get a number ‘6’. Ask someone to draw a Roman nose—an ancient one of an aristocrat— and they are not sure or they draw the letter ‘L.’ The whole picture in people’s minds is built on years of cartoon caricature stereotypes and models used for painting.

The painting of the 14th century poet, Dante Alleghieri shows the North Italian poet from Florence, a devout Catholic with a most extreme convex nose. Nobody cares because he’s an Italian Catholic. If he were Jewish, painters would have used him in Renaissance paintings to depict famous Biblical Jews.

Any stereotype can reinforce sociophobia in people vulnerable to panic disorder. People with large noses wonder whether it's the shape of the person's nose that strangers are looking at. Those with large, convex, noses with downturned tips may wonder what people think of their looks and whether the looks are transferred to opinions formed about that person's work skills or attractiveness when searching for a mate.

To some people, taking away one’s freedom of having people say a convex, long, downturned tipped nose is beautiful is like being told you have the wrong country’s nose and that a surgeon must take off what identifies you. To others, it’s like being told that thousands of years ago an ancestor came from a certain place and that has to be corrected. Plastic surgeons often approach teenagers and say to them, "I can take the hump off your nose." But what’s the point? Do you need more symmetry to feel beautiful on the outside or inside?

Enjoy your natural nose if you think it’s somehow ethnic and you want to be proud of your ethnic nose. It’s a symbol of how you will make the world a kinder and gentler place. The final decision is up to how you see yourself and the feedback you get from others whose opinions you value.

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