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Great year
For Iranian women. And Iranian men are plain jealous.

December 16, 2003
The Iranian

I don't know about you but I don't give a shit anymore. Well, sometimes I do. Today, for example, is a give-a-shit-day. Tomorrow is a whole different story. Honestly, in the seven days of the week, I only give a shit, maybe, a day and a half -- max.

In one of those give-a-shit-days, I get certain things done. For example, I contact family members and talk to friends on the phone.

So a few days ago I called a friend in Iran. He is a university professor with great interest in politics and current affairs. As he answered the phone, the first thing he said to me was, "Today is a great day for all Iranians."

Trying to be enthusiastic, I responded, "Yes it is; her speech was interesting, wasn't it?"

"Speech? I didn't know he could talk! But all Iranians are proud of his accomplishments. He truly put Iran on the world map. The whole country is celebrating today."

"I agree, she has sacrificed a lot and made us all proud."

"Why do you keep calling him, 'she'?" my friend barked.

"Why do you keep calling her, 'he'?" I replied.

"Who are you talking about?"

"Who the fuck are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about Mehdi Mahdavi-Kia. He is was named Asian Player of the Year," my buddy said.

"Oh, sorry. I thought you were talking about Shirin Ebadi."

"Oh yeah, she's great too. But I gotta tell you, we're all overjoyed by Mahdavi-Kia's award. This is the best thing that could have happened to Iran."

I had enough of this.

"Who gives a shit about Mahdavi-Kia?" I screamed.  "He's a stupid soccer player, you jackass!"

"Hey! Watch your mouth. He is a football player not a soccer player, you fag."

That was all I could take. I hung up the phone. The give-a-shit-day was officially over for the rest of the week.

I received number of emails from friends and family in Iran who were thrilled by Mahdavi-Kia's award but didn't care much about Ebadi's Nobel Peace Prize or her speech in Oslo.

Over a bottle of Vodka and some cheese crackers, I thought a whole lot about this. In a rare moment of inspiration, it occurred to me that the answer to this puzzle is elementary. Iranian men hate Iranian women and the whole idea of an Iranian woman achieving so much is nauseating to most of us.

We followed Mahdavi-Kia's ordeal religiously because he represents everything we detest about our women. He plays for a national football team that does not allow women in the stadium. He represents a sport that makes fun of women by forcing them to play in isolation in full-blown Islamic dress, chasing the ball around like a bunch of Zorros.  He leads a two-dimensional life like the rest of us (trademark lifestyle of many Iranian men).

And while his wife wears the traditional head-scarf and walks two steps behind him, he takes promotional pictures with models in skimpy outfits, endorsing his German professional team. He doesn't seem to mind the presence of female fans in shorts and tank tops in German stadiums but if an Iranian woman with shorts and tank top shows up at Azadi Stadium (please don't try that), he might be distracted and miss an opportunity to score. Now that's the way we Iranian men dig things.

I mean, you gotta be honest. Like it or not, It has been a great year for Iranian women. From Ebadi to Afshin-Jam (Miss Canada, and Miss World runner up), Rudy Bakhtiar (CNN anchor), Bani-Etemad (film director), Kar (human rights activist), and Milani (academic), Iranian women have made their mark on the 2003 calendar.

Now let us examine what we Iranian men have accomplished this year. Here's the top five:

(Drum roll please)

1. Consumed over 4 tons of narcotics per month
2. Executed over 270 individuals for a variety of reasons
3. Imprisoned writers, journalists, grocers, milkmen, and anybody we didn't like
4. Killed a woman photographer by smashing her head
5. Spent more money on prostitutes in Dubai than any other nationality.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not an advocate of women's rights or suggest all Iranian men are A-holes. Like I said, I don't give a shit anymore. But I think I know why many of us Iranian men hate Iranian women. I believe it has a lot to do with our own shortcomings and jealousy.  It goes something like this: when the size of your ego is much bigger than the size of your penis, you set yourself up for disappointments and you take your frustrations on your wife, mom, sisters, and daughters.

That's the way many of us have been raised. Seeing our father humiliating our mom or mistreating our sisters, we return the favor by humiliating our own women. Nothing makes us feel manlier. After all we are traditional and traditions are good. Right, traditions are gooooooood. And that's what I think the problem is. Shortcomings, if you know what I mean.

Did I mention that I don't give a shit anymore?

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By Siamack Baniameri


Shirin Ebadi



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