Botox, facelift or liposuction: until then mainly reserved for women, aesthetic medicine is becoming commonplace among men in Tunisia, a sign of societal development on a subject long taboo in this Maghreb country.
At the time of the “global village”, selfies and social networks, the ” cult of the body ” is developing and Tunisians ” go to the scalpel more easily “, remarks Bouraoui Kotti, doctor specializing in cosmetic surgery, to explain this phenomenon a priori surprising in a society with generally conservative mores.
For the psychologist Kamel Abdelhak, this tendency shows ” a need for power, a notion of + supremacy +”. “The man who wants to highlight his financial or sexual power (…) will resort to aesthetics in all its forms “, according to him.
But this masculine concern for aesthetics also has deep roots in Tunisia: ” Our ancestors embellished their bodies ” with minerals or used henna for the hair, he recalls. Aesthetic medicine has today become a “national sport “, he says, and men are no exception.
Hajer Lajnef, a doctor practicing in Tunis, underlines that the interventions of cosmetic surgery in men, from now on ” very requested “, relate first of all to young adults who seek a solution to early baldness or are interested in a rhinoplasty ” by injections “, and then by those who rely on botulinum toxin to fill wrinkles.
This specialist, who also works in Paris and Dubai, says she now sees more than 50 male patients each month, mostly wealthy men, such as ” singers, actors, businessmen, executives, stars of television and politicians “.
They have ” the same concern as a patient woman: they seek to erase the traces of time, fill the cheekbones or have luscious lips and tails of eyebrows pulled up, ” she explains. “They want to be sexy at all costs. “
However, many concerned men refuse to talk about it. Having come to get rid of forehead wrinkles, a 37-year-old patient prefers to remain anonymous but nevertheless confides: ” Man needs to please and to please himself. Why would he deprive himself of what medicine offers him for stay beautiful? “
What about virility?
Conversely, Mohamed Assidi, 34, who has opted for Botox for three years, fully assumes “the use of man to aesthetics”, because according to him, ” it in no way affects his virility “. Besides, if some friends laugh at him, others ” ask for information “, he says. Owner of a hairdressing salon, Mohamed offers facials himself and his premises are always full.
Abdelraouf comes out of a clay scrub-mask session. ” Taking care of yourself, what’s more normal ,” he says. On the other hand, there is no question for him to have recourse to cosmetic surgery, which he considers contrary to the Muslim religion, the majority in Tunisia: “Whoever performs operations changes what God has given him, that’s + haram + “(a sin), according to him.
In their quest for perfection, other Tunisians, however, do not hesitate to undergo major surgeries. ” In recent years, we have more and more male patients in our surgical services “, confirms Dr Amine Zargouni, deputy director of a private clinic. In 50-year-olds, the most common operations are lifting and repairing eyelids and bags, he explains. But the demand for a penile lengthening or for a “lipofilling” – which makes it possible to give volume to the penis and the testicles – is also “important”, notes this doctor.
Unable to obtain national figures from the Ministry of Health or any other professional organization.
Dr Zargouni indicates having received around ten patients daily between 2010 and 2012, mainly Europeans, then, due to the instability of the country, this clientele was replaced by Tunisians and, to a lesser extent, Libyans and Algerians. Today, he believes, ” talking about cosmetic surgery in men is no longer taboo ” in Tunisia.