Updated: Mar 23, 2021
Abroo Kamoon / ابرو کمون
Let's talk about EYEBROWS.
Some are straight, some are arched, some thin, others thick, some symmetrical, others not (me lol), some farther apart, some meet in the middle.
The phrase "abroo kamoon" in Farsi and Persian culture is an adjective used to refer to brows (women's brows) that are long and curved to meet in the middle, resemblant of an archer's/cupid's bow or even a bridge in some contexts. Poets, artists, and songbirds alike have been romanticizing this feature of Persian beauty since ancient times - and it may surprise you - but still to this day it is sung about in modern Iranian Pop music and painted in Persian art.
I tried my best to desperately grow my brows out for months before this video shoot because I wanted to resurface and pay homage to true Iranian, glamor; to beautify the ideology of the "unibrow" that people so fear and tarnish in the West. Iranians still consider the long-browed women in our artwork, poetry and music to be the epitome of female elegance, and intelligence. But only in artwork. Nowadays, Persian women and men in Iran are plucking at their brows and fixing all their noses to appeal to a superior, Western standard. Did you know that Iran has the highest rate of cosmetic procedures out of every other country?
So no surprise that on my journey of no plucking or buzzing prior to the "Ashes In The Sea" video shoot, I was reeaally uncomfortable. What would people think when they saw me? That I let myself go? That I'd lost my mind? Especially my fellow Persians who regularly get their eyebrows done because it's practically become moral code. --- I've been clearing up the space between my brows since middle-school because the White beauty standard was the one to conform to or else your life would be a living hell (NEWS FLASH: A lotta white women have brows that connect as well, so this speech is for all of us).
It took time, but in the mornings of these past few months, when I saw myself in the mirror - I saw beauty and history, wisdom and grace; I saw my ancestors and my genetics! My identity as a Persian woman doesn't just revolve around saffron, rosewater, gold and winding hips - the things Western society finds exotic and alluring. I wanted to embrace all of it; and by doing so, I felt more like and accepting of myself than I had in YEARS. And I think it's stupid that I can only have full brows like this as a costume - it's beautiful and majestic in a music video - but it's classified as dirty, ungroomed, and uneducated during daily life.
Unfortunately, I couldn't completely grow it back (not yet at least). A sad truth? Many people on the internet are trying really hard to grow out their beloved, connecting brows again :') I did a lot of online research when on the pursuit to expedite my own brow growth. It was heartbreaking how many men and women have damaged that part of the skin so much that they've lost a part of their identities, their bloodlines - all in the pursuit of acceptance and love.
If you've noticed, I shy away from the word "unibrow" because it has such a negative, othering effect. But I welcome you to be open-minded to other cultures' and individual beauty standards and do not make assumptions to any degree on the basis of it. I hate profiling, as its played an impactful role in my life since I was a child. But I do love representation and sharing. So I hope something here made someone feel more seen and accepted today - I love you all no matter what you look like and how you choose to express yourself on a visible level. I hope you love you too. :)