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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


August 2, 2000

Sympathy for prostitutes

In response to the man who is/was so outraged at the prostitution link. Yes - it may be sensationalistic - but both you and I have joined the ranks of those writing about it and reading it. Who do you seek to blame if a Jasmine-paragraph achieves thousands of hits? These are after all, your precious and "refined" Iranians.

I agree with the reader who once wrote in a blurb to The Iranian that life is occasionally about movements to "break the glass of imaginary things." This is beautiful advice and if you feel it in your bones you will understand.

But on the rare occasion that you still completely disagree: what does prostitution MEAN to you? Is it, say, Iranian-American women who are motivated by a man's checkbook or mode of transportation? Is it American girls who "pimp" themselves seeking to be "wined and dined" by the men they date?

What do you make of women who wear large, ridiculous, and aesthetically uninspiring cliches on their wedding fingers as a prize or expression of self-worth? Are these accepted bougeoisie ways of living among the sexes (although they are generalized and being reformed in most communities) a form of "prostitution" ?

My intent here is not to insult mainstream women, but to point out some similarities in lifestyle that will hopefully enable you to understand or feel sympathetic for prostitutes themselves.

And on the other hand, perhaps Jasmine is no victim at all. Maybe she is simply liberated and removed from these "imaginery things" that people like you and I are slaves of.

And in response to Shireen A. and girl with dog and girl with wedding dress, I know nothing of this Farhad character and I should probably refrain from commenting, BUT do you really really really think that one man is capable and hence responsible for "depriving women of diginity and..." Seems a much to simplistic understanding of power.

And on one hand, you say that something shocking would be "interesting," on the other, you compliment the refinement and taste of (Iranian) culture. In life, where do the avant-garde or attempts to shock and intrigue conflict with refinement?

Anything shocking is completely arbitrary and solely depends on what is in fact NOT shocking - what is tasteful and accepted. It's all bullshit but beautiful and great fun to be the creator of something deemed shocking in one time and place. And the ".... past the point of both reason and beauty, and therefore unforgiveable." What?!

I think the underlying motivation of much of Art - be it fashion or interior design or poetry or performance/conceptual art is to reasses what is Beautiful, or to question how objects or ideas achieve value in our world. In your opinion, this designer's great sin is betraying "reason and beauty" ? Reason is hardly something natural or objective. Both "reason" and "beauty" are often man-made constructions. If you'd like to adhere to the constructs - great. If you want to shit on them - great.

One more obvious point on the wedding "dress" - there are clear expectations of what people accept to see one wear in a wedding ceremony. Clothing resembling a bathing suit is perhaps not one of them. Both bathing suits and wedding dresses are acceptable in society, albeit in different contexts.

Ignoring practical considerations like climate, there is no REAL reason why one should not wear a wedding dress to the ocean or a bathing suit down the aisle. I think it was the artist Richard Serra (?) who said "places engender thoughts". Do you see the connection(s)? Places and peoples external to us dictate our perceptions and normalities.

And, lastly, is anything REALLY "unforgiveable" ?

Leyla Momeny


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