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Traditional Iranian Women's Customs: Oppressive or Liberating

Arguing traditional Iranian practices oppress women
by Caroline Patten on 7 March 2012

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Transcript of Traditional Iranian Women's Customs: Oppressive or Liberating

The Veil: Oppressive or Liberating? The Veil Representational of various meanings Ancient custom signifying religious devotion Represents gender boundaries Private space for women Prevents sexual attraction (for males) Guards against "extramarital contact" (Davary pg. 59) Sexual Purity Women in Iran What is it? Source of protection and virtue verses medium of repression Garment that shield's a woman's face, curves and cleavages Mandatory dress code in Iran "...And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms... -Qur'an (24:31)" Woman Arrested for 'Bad Hijab' Women are seen as secondary in Iran's patriarchial society Segregated in public Feminist groups currently cultivating change Subordinate status to men Iranian parliament now includes women (Barlow: 4-5) Women's Press for discussions Educational advancements Demonstrations and protests (Barlow: 25) Western Thought Regarding The Veil Veiled women subject to discrimination However, the veil remains a necessity It is believed that women should have the choice to veil or unveil for whatever reasons Azita Jahanbani "After the revolution in Iran, the women’s rights declined more with every passing year. We could no longer dress the way we liked [in Iran], we had to cover our hair and wear long and loose clothes to cover our curves..." "I could even feel the difference in my own home..." Born in Shiraz, Iran "...The government punished whoever tried to do such things [go against the norm].  I was really scared.  I kept my head down and dressed the way I was asked to by the school and authorities." Islamophobia: Fear of Islam and Hosility against Muslims Preconceived terrorist notions regarding 9-11 Veil is tied with oppression and a lack of freedom of choice Islamophobia Begs the question of how far one should go for religious purposes... When is it acceptable/ unacceptable for a woman to be forced or expected to wear an article of clothing which diminishes individuality? "She [a woman] is the root of her family, but invisible to the outside world." "Coming to U.S. was a big treat for me...the opportunities are overwhelming..." Iranian American Immigrant Immigrated to the United States in 1986 when she was 16 (Religion Of Peace: 1) (Basu, CNN World) Also known as "hijab" (Davary: 1) Some women feel it is an honor to veil, while others feel the modest dress is shameful "Zanan" (Barlow: 5) 65% of Iran's university students are female (Barlow: 5) Caroline Patten
WNST 101 Bibliography
Akbarzadeh, Shahram and Barlow, Rebecca. “Prospects for Feminism in the Islamic Republic
of Iran.” Human Rights Quarterly 30.1 (2008): 21-40. Project Muse. Web. 4 February 2012.

Amin, Camron Michael. “Globalizing Iranian Feminism, 1910-1950.” Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies 4.1 (2008): 6-30. Project Muse. Web. 4 February 2012.

Basu, Moni. “Women in Iran March Against Discrimination.” Iranian Women. CNN World, 19 June 2009. Web. 13 February 2012.

Davary, Bahar. “Miss Elsa and The Veil.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 25.2 (2009): n.pag. ProQuest. Web. 3 February 2012.

N.P. “Women Being Covered” The Religion Of Peace, 2006-2011. Web. 12 February 2012.

Shilandari, Farah. “Iranian Women: Veil and Identity.” A Forum on Human Rights and Democracy in Iran, September 7 2012. Web. 13 February 2012.
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