Imagine a world where dead bodies are dropped at your business's front door as a warning sign, where one of your stylists receives death threats for working in the beauty industry. That's exactly what Baghdad stylist and salon owner Ahmed Morad endured merely two years ago as a result of his involvement in the business of making women look beautiful — a practice forbidden by religious extremists.
These extremists feel that only husbands should see their wives without head scarves, and women should not be allowed to alter their appearances. Thanks to recent security improvements, Morad is now back in business, and more women are exposed to fashionable looks outside of their realm due to exposure never available to them before. As the popularity of once-forbidden media rises, some women seek a more glamorous look. Even if most continue to wear a hijab, they enjoy having a spiffed-up style for their own enjoyment — or that of their spouses.
"The satellite channels are always showing these beautiful ladies, and the men are always looking for beauty," said skin specialist Niran Ali. "The wives want to change just to be like what their husbands see," she added. While I'm not one to advocate getting groomed only for a man, it's good to see that Iraqi women have regained the choice to head to the salon if they choose.