At 2.8 million followers on Instagram, beauty influencer and former Miss Baghdad Tara Fares was well on her way to building a lucrative brand. Unfortunately, Fares life was cut short after the 22-year-old model from Iraq was gunned down Thursday morning in Baghdad. Iraq is known to be an extremely conservative country that follows the traditional family hierarchy, which denies women of gender equality. Women take on the submissive role, dress conservatively in long sleeves and skirts, and act modestly around men.
This comes during a time where women in the Middle East are breaking out of their traditional structure to find and use their voice. Adopting a Western way of life is dangerous and beauty bloggers like Fares are being targeted for revolting against the norm. In August, Rafeef al-Yaseri, owner of Barbie Beauty Center, was assassinated in her home. A week later, Rasha al-Hassan, manager of the Viola Beauty Center, was also murdered in her home. In 2016, Qandeel Baloch, a Pakistani social media influencer known as the “Pakistani Kim Kardashian,” was murdered by her brother in what is described as an “honor killing.”
Fares relocated to a safer part of Iraq to avoid the scrutiny of her choices in exploring the beauty world. Her trip to Baghdad is what lead to her demise. Some choose to relocate to areas that are safer with the understanding that it is dangerous to return back home. Persian beauty entrepreneur Lilly Ghalichi worked as a lawyer before she started her own swimsuit, eyelash and hair brand. Her short appearance on the show, Shahs of Sunset, and her life in the spotlight has brought a lot of unwanted attention for her family. During a reunion show, the starlet revealed that her parents encouraged her to skip a trip to Iran for fear of her safety.
Accentuating a woman’s beauty, in countries where beauty is reserved for your husband and not the world, has proven to be very dangerous. The idea of honorably murdering someone because they enjoy makeup and wearing the occasional mini skirt, seems like an immediate violation of a woman’s rights. It’s a no-brainer for us, but an everyday occurrence in other parts of the world. Still, women are following their dreams and doing exactly what they want to do, despite the risk. Rest in peace to these beautiful women, and all of the women, who are being killed for living in their truth.