Mar 11, 2006

DEFIANCE , RESILIENCE...IRANIAN WOMEN






















8 Comments:

Blogger rabfish said...

these are amazing pictures!

11:04 PM  
Blogger brownfemipower said...

the only one i'm wondering about is the third one????? maybe i'm missing something but why are the brown sistas looking all shocked and crazy next to the white looking, self assured sista??? I like the look on the face of the white chick, and I like how she's walking, but the brown sistas, i just can't figure them out!!! Which is in turn making me go, "why they gotta do that to the brown sistas???"
Is there a story behind the picture?

10:34 AM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

I'm assuming by "white looking" you are referring to the fact that she has dyed her hair, has had a nose job (I can point one of those out a mile away!) and is wearing a tighter, western looking outfit. Can you break down what you mean by "white looking", i'm curious. Do you mean "white looking" as in "not wearing a traditional Islamic look" or looking "western"? Or is it her features? Or is it the way she is carrying herself that reads as "white"?

I'm not sure as to why they are looking so shocked, definitely not at this girl (because there are many women like her who wear the same "western look")...but it's true how the 2 sistas are presented in this photo is definitely biased and is with purpose...

What is defiant about the "western" looking woman is the fact that her appearance goes against the law - she could be taken in by the moral police and put in jail, fined, lashed, harrassed, etc. for looking the way she does. According to Iranian law, the ideal woman should look like the sistas in the background.

Everything about the sista in the foreground seen as HARAM. Especially the self-assured manner in which she carries herself while looking the way she does.

In Iran, the politics of women's appearance is something to make serious note of. It's always been an integral part of the resistance movement. Wearing hejaab was a way of challenging the pro-western, corrupt regime of the Shah (up until the 1978 revolution). And now, challenging hejaab (by wearing tight clothes, make-up, etc.) is a way of challenging the Islamic regime (which, if you don't know, through disciplining and punishment, attempts to regulate what women wear and how they look).

There's definitely a lot of complex shit going on there in terms of women's bodies and resistance vis-a-vis the whole "western" (i.e. white?) and "traditional" discourse? There was a term coined during the revolution time when they referred to this woman (the one in the foreground) as being "westoxified" or "gharbzadeh" (in Farsi)

2:18 PM  
Blogger brownfemipower said...

yeah, I was refering to the blong hair, which I *can't* just look at and tell--I am so oblivious to stuff like nose jobs and hair jobs--so I assumed because she had blond hair, she was white--and that was pretty much the only cultural indicator to me that she was white--and by white I meant not arab/persian. I live very close to dearborn which is home to the biggest muslim/middle eastern base outside of the middle east and there is a very heavy population of women in ann arbor/ypsi area who cover--So I wasn't even necessarily assuming that any of these women were even IN Iran. I don't know what that says about my cultural racisms/biases/understandings of covered women...but I do appreciate the fact that by saying white, that necessarily assumes an awful fucking lot. Like, I also just assume that most chicanas/mexicanas are have black hair and olive/brown/peachy brown skin. It was a major major shock to me to go to mexico and find all the blond hair blued eyed mexican women that I did--and not one of them feeling a tiny bit self concious about not being "mexican" enough (as I have felt my whole life cuz my skin isn't dark enough).
I know just a bit about iranian women and their dress through Minoo Muellum--but for the most part, I have gotten to the point where I don't even notice half the time if women are covered--and I must admit that this has gotten me into lots of trouble politically, as being covered or dressing a certian way *is* how iranian women (and arab) women express resistance or are indicated as opressed. So in organizing or in classes, I've kinda gotten impatient when talk of being covered comes up--In one class, I was like "So WHAT Muslim women are covered??? So the hell what? Who cares?" and I pretty much caught shit from everybody for being insensitive, stupid, not aware, and culturally arrogant. What I meant to be saying was more just that I know about fifty women who cover in *some* way, every single one of them are activists and outspoken fighters, and not one of them has every complained about being covered, so its just a non-issue for me--but in being like that, I am neglecting and over looking the fact that covered women *do* take certian risks and are being defined and sat judgement upon (whether positivelly or negativelly) because they cover.

I guess it's kinda the arrogance of a white person who can't understand why their black friend always brings up race. But the funny thing is, it's never the women who cover who bring it up, its those who *aren't* covered.

hmmm. anyway. Like I'm sure you want to be burdened with my issues huh???
:-)
anyway, the picture makes more sense now, I'm still not liking how the two women are portrayed tho...

5:43 PM  
Blogger brownfemipower said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:49 PM  
Blogger brownfemipower said...

oh, ps, as far as the clothes indicating western person--haha, NOT!!!! Arab/Iranian women are about some of the finest hottest dressers I have ever seen!!!!!!!!!!! :-) I was actually just joking with a Palestinian friend of mine that I don't like going out with her because she dresses so goddamn fine, and I'm prone to dressing in sweats and a t-shirt..

5:52 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

You know I can't wait to meet you one day - I love your honesty and the ability to open up dialogue...you are straight up and I that's how I wish everyone was. And I KNOW we would get along really well. ;)
it's true that most Iranian women are NOT blond yet many of them happen to have that color hair! There is a lot of internalized racist stuff and nose jobs are a major part of that (i.e. get a whiter nose). Many Iranian and Arab women have white privilege because some of lighter skin...so can pass for mediterranean, southern european, etc. The range of skin tones within my family and relatives is vast - pale olive, to even pink white to deep brown, etc.
One thing is for sure tho (you can't avoid that big ole nose no matter what shade you are!) LOL!

since I didn't include any commentary with the photos, they could be interpreted any way...which is why you wouldn't know if they were all photos of Iranian women! I should have added that to the title! So I can see why that photo would read as a white woman passing by a couple of Muslim women. And yes, I totally agree their portrayal is not cool.

The whole hejaab and being covered deal is totally complicated - especially when it comes to Iranians because of the Islamic regime and its enforcement of the hejaab. There are so many stereotypes to challenge such as the passive Muslim woman (signified by images of her being covered) and that of the radical Muslim woman (signified by images of hejaab wearing women and guns). I could go on and on about this...seriously, there's a lot to get into.

It's definitely true that there is a whole lot of privilege that comes from being a Muslim woman who doesn't wear hejaab. This is very very true.

Please girl, your issues would never burden me...this is what all this blogging is about. We share, we talk, we learn, we challenge, we build, you know?

It's true that Arab/Iranian women are HOT dressers man...I can't even keep up...I'm more on your team with the sweats and tees! LOL! ;)

6:53 PM  
Blogger Pomegranate Queen said...

I decided to change the title so it was known these are Iranian women...

2:50 PM  

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