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Women-only taxis

No longer will Iranian women need to sit in cramped taxis adjacent to unshaven muscular sweaty perverts

Congratulations to Iranian women for achieving another milestone, the official woman-only taxis, driven by woman drivers in Tehran. Yes for those ignorant westerners women in Iran do drive vehicles. They passed that milestone decades ago, and for years for extra income they have been acting as taxi drivers by picking up passengers on their way to their regular jobs as doctors, bankers, teachers, etc. What’s new now is that it’s official, and it’s for the services of pious rich female passengers like Rafsanjani’s daughters and brides, when for some reason they cannot use their Mercedes Benz. Isn’t that great. In a few other provinces they were doing it already, but Tehran in that respect was a backward metropolis >>>

Among rogue scholars

Inside the Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies (IHCS), a Tehran research institute: 1993-1995
Azadeh Azad

In 1992, the publication of a new women's magazine, Zanan, was a first clear sign that there was a rift within the ranks of the Islamic phalanx in Iran, creating a narrow crevice for uttering slightly different opinions without being immediately executed. So, having worked for many years as a social scientist with La Federation des Femmes du Quebec in Montreal, I decided to return to Tehran at the end of that year, to live and work in my birthplace for a few years. I had left Iran in 1969 with the feeling that women's situation under the Shah was unbearable. I thus clearly knew that the wearing of the compulsory hijab and abiding by other rules of the Islamic regime would be detrimental to my psyche; so I returned with the internal attitude of an observing sociologist and not of a woman, in order to cope with the offensive and alienating social environment in new Iran >>>

The world is watching us
Marjan Abdi

Having inherited the foundation of Human Rights from a just emperor, Cyrus the Great 2500 years ago, we must be able to rather teach the world how to develop human souls to eradicate crime; whereas, shamefully enough, we are witnessing the fact that today all the basic human rights are simply being violated in the very land of the founder of them! Stoning is a destructive encouragement to potential inclination to crime, which is hidden in every human being by nature. We must provide a healthy education to all to avoid crimes from happening in the first place. Stoning is indeed a failure in our spiritual education >>>

Clearing my closets
Fereshteh Saheli

I was diagnosed with breast cancer about a month ago.  I was aware of my tumors a good year before that and did absolutely nothing about them.  I never went to a doctor, never sought help of any sort much to the dismay of childhood friends who found me out during one incredibly glorious vacation recently.  I tried to explain my thoughts ... I have packed so very much in my first thirty years of life than most people do in their whole.  Not even touching on the next 15, I tried my best to tell them I’ve had enough.  I could happily pass on now.  I really can!  Enough pain, enough joy, enough fun, enough bitter, enough sweet, enough laughter, enough sadness, enough any and all.  None would hear of it >>>

Azam's secrets

What to give a middle-aged woman for Christmas
Azam Nemati

I want to help out the brothers and make the task less stressful since many of you are so clueless and have no imagination when it comes to buying gifts for us for any occasion. I am the kindhearted big sister who wants you to shine and let’s remember this is not about me but having heard all the complaints, I want to make it simple despite the myth that women are complicated. First of all, there are two groups of women.  The first are those who truly value anything that shows thoughtfulness as corny as it sounds.  The second group belongs to the “rich housewife” club. That is someone with 9th grade education (or high school if she is younger) who is married to someone with money and her status among the rest of the housewives is determined by the handbag she carries, the make up she wears and the car she drives and of course all is paid from the pocket of bothers like you who like being the “agha” >>>

Shame on shame

Part 5: The Streetwalker with a heart of gold

Unlike her loud laughters and gaudy appearance, a characteristic of prostitutes, Shirin proved to be a nice and caring woman. There were signs of extreme exhaustion in her manner. She was tired of something. She wanted the security of a family and the warmth of a real friendship. Ensy could see a kind of hidden pain in her eyes whenever their eyes contacted. Shirin was always the first who broke the eye contact. This loose woman was very shy deep inside. And there was a mystery in her voice too. As soon as she stopped her giggles and opened her lips to talk, Ensy could hear the sound of a tortured woman . She could not hide the tinge of loneliness and solitude in her voice. She was aching to belong to a place where she could call home. Soon after the first few weeks of tension and when the distrust of the primary encounter had worn off, Ensy found a new ally at home. Behind the thick layers of powder and mascara lay a woman with a golden heart >>>

Naghsh dar aab

Any Iranian woman who becomes famous does not necessarily deserve praise, especially not Anousheh Ansari
Fariba Moghadam

The renewed virgin
Rana Rabei

If I were to ask a Persian man to paint me a picture of their ideal girl, I have a feeling it would be something like this: Young, good looking, hard working, smart, and inexperienced. If it seems like I'm drawing stereotypes at this point, you're probably right, I am. But after being the subject of interest of a number of Persian men looking to train me into their running mate in the race that is marriage, it's hard to rule out the repeating pattern of educated and accomplished Iranian men looking for a wife 10 years younger than them. The burning question remains, what has led to this hypocrisy? Other than the fact that most of us are gifted with the vestigial biases of our parents' generation, I would like to point out a particular social phenomenon that has led to the mass development of the stereotypical Persian man. To illustrate my case, I would like to call 'the renewed virgin' to the stand >>>

Modern maiden

Stop blaming premarital sex for your broken homes
Hiedeh Farmani

I am a married woman living in conservative Iran, where women are expected to keep their hymens intact for wedlock and many among more traditional families still have to get their virginity verified by a doctor before tying the knot -- to guarantee the future groom has not been sold damaged goods. Yet, marriages fail and divorce rates are ramping up. Many of those wandering about in family courts were good old blushing virgins when they married. So what went wrong? Men's drug addiction and unemployment are said to be the main reasons but there are studies and statistics showing adultery as well as sexual incompatibility and dissatisfaction are also -- if not equally -- playing important roles. Reluctant to lift our heads out of the sand, we still perpetuate and promote "values" of honor and chastity, chanting into young women's ears to keep away from sex, putting a halo over an orifice >>>

Tasleem yaa eestaadegi?

Resisting or surrendering to domestic violence?
Shokooh Mirzadegi

Women are women

Clearly, a rights-based discussion can’t begin with Islam but has to begin with the woman and her rights
Maryam Namazie

It is crucial to speak about the rights of ‘Muslim’ women, go beyond the issue of the veil, and talk about secularism, particularly in light of the political Islamic movement’s assault on women and their rights, but restricting the debate in this way is seriously flawed. Firstly, the so-called grouping of Muslim women is a constructed one. Out of the innumerable characteristics women have, why focus on their beliefs? Doing so, implies that religion informs the rights of all those labelled as Muslim (including very often people like myself - an atheist). This is not usually the case. More importantly, why must women’s rights issues be discussed within the framework of religion or for that matter, with regard to the beliefs -- real or imputed - of the woman whose rights are being discussed? Generally, this is not how rights are examined. For example, do we discuss domestic violence vis-à-vis Christian women or in the context of Christianity? >>>

Feel her fear
Sophie Saviour

In the last couple of days everyone is talking about the UCLA student and I am thinking of Zahra Amir-Ebrahimi, the woman in Iran who is being abused in many dimensions and perhaps without any support! Imagine the case: 1) an abusive boyfriend who has already fled to Dubai , 2) a government and police system that will definitely kill her -- in her soul and heart, if not literally. And 3) family and friends and radical Moslems who will criticize her for corrupting their image! It breaks my heart and I assure you that Zahra would prefer to be tasered like Mostafa Tabatabainejad 10 times more than being in this situation! Many of you may not know what the meaning of "being trapped" in Iran is. The Spanish inquisition type courtrooms and jails. No matter what the reason, "siaasi" or "akhlaaghi" (political or moral), they have a way to make you feel you want to die. Verrry inhuman techniques: dirty, nasty and cruel! >>>


What I saw in Tajrish
Photo essay: Shopping in North Terhan


The "basher" and the "immortal"
On Anousheh Ansari's space travel and her critics

Mahsa Meshki

I like to say, that in exercising her passion, Ansari has exercised godliness and perhaps attained it. One only needs to read her blog to sense the childish enthusiasm that imbues her words as she shares her space travel experience. I like to say, if Ansari could have explored space without paying a hefty sum of money, she would have done so; that unfortunately, the price tag of following our dreams is often hefty. I like to say, she is non-partisan, just a curious soul following her dreams. I like to say, the contribution she is making to furthering humanity's vision beyond the boundaries of our earth will have a profound shift in our consciousness beyond what our limited vision allows us to see at this time. I like to say, we each have a song and surmounting the world's hunger problems should be left to someone other than Ansari. Finally, I like to ask, why we burden Ansari with solving the world's hunger problems when she never acceded to such responsibility? >>>

Screw the Sexual Revolution
It deeply saddens me that many in second-generation of Iranian women in the West have adopted such a "ce la vie" attitude about sexual relationships outside the bounds of marriage

Jim S.

Few men in the world would desire a wife who has been intimate with another man. Unfortunately, Western men have no choice but to ignore women's past sexual indiscretions if they hope to marry and have families. If you think that Western men are just more tolerant and accepting of female premarital intimacies, let me assure you that we are not. Western men are no different from Iranian men in wanting a wife who has not been deflowered by another. Western men want their wives to come to their marriage bed as innocent and pure as the day they were born, but this is not a realistic option or ambition any longer for Western men while it still is for many Iranian men. Whether you like it or not, this is the way it is, the way it always has been and the way it always will be >>>

Persians & Trojans
I applaud those women and men who take precaution and practice safe sex

Sanaz Raji

Let's face it, people have sex. The problem isn't sex, it is how people handle it and of course, being Iranian, whether living in Iran or in the diaspora, it is our culture and the fact that we have a real problem with being open about our sexuality. I have no problem with virginity; I applaud those who decide to wait until marriage. However, not everyone decides to wait -- many have sexual relations before marriage and this is also another reality. Instead of instructing women and men to not have sex or chastising those women and men who are open about their sexuality, I'd rather see Iranian men and women better educated about safe sex and are healthy about their sexuality >>>

The right to be left alone
Tina Ehrami

You and I are losing bits of our privacy everyday. Do we really need to be confronted with that much of our private lives when we personally do not choose to give it away voluntarily? The internet has made it possible to communicate more and more anonymously. Everyone can take your personal information and abuse it for their own sick purposes. A few days ago I read about this famous Iranian actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi whose personal sex video has been circulating on the internet! I really feel sorry for this poor woman. The thought of everyone-including your family- seeing you in such a position must be devastating >>>

A child has no religion
We should tear out all romantic falsification surrounding the veil

Azar Majedi

The question of the veil has become a heated debate in the British media. In this debate some fundamental principles seem to be at stake: Individual freedom to practice one's religion, freedom of choice, freedom of clothing and discrimination against a particular community, that is, the so-called Moslem community. Islamists and some human rights activists maintain that the so-called Moslem community is being stigmatized and have been under racist attack since September 11th. They argue that the latest attempts to ban burke or the nighab is a violation of individual freedom and another racist attack on Moslems. Let's examine these issues closer. Two events following one another brought up the question of the Islamic veil in the British media: Jack Straw's comment on the women wearing the nighab and the case of Aishah Azmi, a 24 year old support teacher, who was ordered to take off her full veil, including the nighab >>>

15 minutes of dignity: Priceless!
Omid Parsi

NEW YORK -- Lately, as anyone deeply familar with the Iranian spirit could have predicted, there has been an outburst of passion from assorted commentators - literate ones too, amazingly - condemning Ms. Ansari's space travel and her ensuing "15 minutes of fame" as vane and extravagant. Indeed how could anyone spend twenty million or so "beezaboon" US$$ to fulfill a childish whim of spending a night in a cold space capsule?! What is more troubling to me however is the fact that it never ocurred to our big-hearted but small-minded Ansari-bashers that maybe the recognition she has received might somehow uplift all Iranians. After all, in case some of us have not realized, lately the world's general perception of Iranians is not something we could be all too proud of >>>

Striking a chord
For decades men in America, including Iranian-American men, have been suffering in silence
Lance Raheem

There was a time when the virtue of masculinity was celebrated in society. There was a time when men weren't ashamed to look like men, to talk like men, to act like men... .to be men. Now, in today's Emasculate Conception culture, what do you find? If a man wants to be accepted by women today, he has to be feminized, intellectually, emotionally, psychologically and to some extent, even, physically. Ten years ago no one on planet earth had ever heard of a metrosexual. Now you find them everywhere. While they aren't gay, there is still something that is very unsettling about how effeminate they behave. Am I the only one who thinks it's unnatural that straight men woul want to have a facial and a pedicure, or would want to wear male eyeliner? These poor souls are not only more interested in shopping at pretty-boy boutiques than sitting down to watch a good fight on TV, they are more interested in a good sale at the mall than their sisters, mothers or wives are. North America has turned into a continent of sissies and it's turning Iranian-American men into a bunch of sissies, too >>>

Money doesn't buy you brains
Let little Anousheh have her purchased 15 minutes of fame until she can buy her way to another venture

Azam Nemati

It is amazing that some Iranian housewives who are uneducated and being supported by the husband think the rest of us are jealous of Ansari. I have no idea why we would be jealous because she is not prettier or smarter or even more attractive than most of us. As for her money, we are not jealous because we know she comes from a family with money. We want all our fellow Iranians to be well off but we also hope that they have hearts to use their excess money to make a difference in the world. I have a bet with my friends (and I am right 99% of the time) that Ansari was very unattractive and boring as a teen-ager she still seems quite boring and lacks wit and charm >>>

Beh jorme sangdeli
Excitement over Anousheh Ansari's space travel has overshadowed the fact that 20 million dollars could have saved many people on earth

Fariba Moghadam


Blowing smoke

Photo essay: Women hanging out somewhere in Iran
Sent by A.M.



Feminizm va estemraare mardsalaari

What is true gender equality?
Homayoun Abghari

Going Dutch

My ideal Iranian man is not
Charlotte Najafi

Iranian men were not able to appreciate me or even accept the fact that I did know more and better and had more experience on travelling and being a so called "donya dideh". Or, they forced me to accept their point of view's of how life is or they just ignored me or the worse, they wanted me just because I am 1.80cm, slender and pretty and in many ways not like an average Iranian woman! (I mean just the flesh and blood was important to them but not the whole package!), I am sure you understand what I mean. Anyways, I gave up and began to live my own life, without a man and rejecting their helping hands or even the family and friends well-meant suggestions or what ever! Till I met a Dutch! A younger Dutch man, good looking, educated and self-disciplined with a good back-ground. (Not able to speak more than 2 languages but with a good job and still in process of becoming a successful and professional man) >>>

Save sex for marriage
Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari

I have read several articles and responses from different people on the issue of morality. And the question that comes to my mind is what is wrong with waiting till you find the person you want to be married to? Then giving it all to him or her. Why do young men and women have to have sex before they are married? What, do they have to taste it first before they buy it or something? I don't understand this. When I married my husband I was a virgin. I am proud of the fact that I was and that I could give this to my husband. Is it so wrong to want your significant other to be that way? In today's world I would think we would try harder to be conservative in what we do with our bodies considering all of the diseases that are rampant. But what I see it seems that we are on a self-destructive course. Not so much immoral, even though I do not agree I do not judge, but self-damaging. As a woman, I know I can do anything my male counter-parts do -- but do I really want to? >>>

Shame on shame

Part 4: Sweltering summer afternoons in Shiraz, 1982

Ensy always felt a kind of warmth emanating from Mr. S when she saw him. He always gave her a big smile, pinching her cheeks and saying nice things to her. Once or twice when the little girl happened to be climbing the stairs he materialized out of nowhere, offering her a candy and softly caressed her hair. He always called her by names like rabbit or mouse and other pet names. Sometimes when Ensy and Jomee were walking in the alley, they saw the boisterous Mr. S playing balls with some young guys. Ensy could not take her eyes off this vivacious middle-aged man who unlike her dad, was always in command, ordering and shouting everyone what to do next. When he saw them he would run forward pinching and kissing on Ensy's cheek before rushing back to his post in the court. While Dad was always too busy with his business and numerous love-affairs to pay his daughter any attention, Mr. S would always brighten up whenever he saw Ensy >>>

The other side of oppression

The reality of women's liberation movement in Iran
Azar Majedi

I am sure that you all have heard about the non-existence of women's rights in Islam. However, some think it is not Islam's fault, they blame the patriarchy. They maintain that it is not Islam, but patriarchal interpretations of Islam that is responsible for the conditions of women in countries under the rule of Islam. In other words it is the ruling men's fault not the ruling Islam. We will not get into the debate that Islam as all other religions is the direct product of patriarchal era. It could not have escaped being permeated by patriarchic values and outlook. However, we must state one undeniable fact, that is, millions of women are violated daily by Islamic laws, customs, values and states. We must deal in an effective manner with this violation >>>

Fat love

Napoleon mon amour, Part 10: Picking on some mid-aged woman, twice divorced, single mom, with no social life and a weight problem!

Where do I begin? It has been so long since I wrote for you, dear faithful readers... What should I do? Beg your indulgence make you co-dependents in this game of humiliation I am playing? How can I take a post-feminist erotic view of my situation when it is really all about female weakness--or not even that lofty, it is about my particular weakness? The truth is that everything about this relationship is lopsided.  Everything is the way he wants it.  My whole sorry life revolves around a man whose own life revolves around someone else.  And do regular orgasms make-up for a life of humiliation and angst? Of course not. No woman or even man with a modicum of integrity would stay in a relationship like this. Not unless they were not in love >>>

Careful cover

Distortion and Islamophobia
Nema Milaninia

Its interesting and at the same time disturbing to see political attacks against the wearing of the niqab (as to be contrasted with the hijab) by senior members of the British government. Particularly in light of the undeniable growth of Islamophobia around the world. While this question doesn’t effect most Iranians, since the overwhelming majority of Iranian Muslims don’t wear the niqab (in fact I’ve never seen an Iranian Muslim wearing a niqab has so I’d welcome commentary on the matter), the fact that it is evidence of growing demonization of Muslims bears witness. A quick search on wikipedia alone reveals the following facts >>>

What's new pussycat?

What makes the world go 'round? Class struggle, battle between light and darkness, God and Satan, power of love, or according to my redneck neighbor, the desire to get and consume another six-pack of beer? One can believe that any one of these forces or motives is what makes humans tick. I, on the other hand, after in-depth examining of human condition, have come to the conclusion that the thing that moves, shakes, and makes human destiny and history is the cat. Yes, cat, that is scientifically known as "Pussituos Felinuos." >>>

Treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen!

Some men AND women quite simply ENJOY the bittersweet cat and mouse game
Dokhtar Shirazi

Despite being a female, and without attempting to be a traitor to my own kind, I have to confess that I too, have made similar observations. As a soon to be admitted lawyer working in a male dominated industry and being one of only three females working in a commercial litigation law firm, inevitably, I have spent a lot of time closely observing the male species and on many occasions I have come this close to beg those pussy whipped males, to order their bitches to shove it where the sun don’t shine! Ok, as an example, picture this. My boss, being a highly respected, self-assured, egoistic, know-it-all middle age litigant, is bossed around by this foxy, blond lass -- AKA the wife -- who thinks she has the right to run the show for him. Let me rephrase that >>>

Disappearing dignity

There is a generation of wonderful, beautiful, intelligent young Iranian women that sleep around and engage in activities that would shame their families if they knew
Intrepid Resolve

This issue of respect and self-respect is very evident in Iranian women. What makes an Iranian woman different than lets say an American, Canadian, or British one, what makes her special? When it comes to beauty, it can be found in all these races, and when it comes to cultural nuances they can be learned and emulated, so what is left for the Iranian woman? It is her character and her core beliefs and values with regard to family and fidelity ingrained in her from childhood that make her different than any other woman. It is her self-respect, her dignity, and her strong belief in right and wrong that makes her an ideal mate, friend, partner, and wife. And for that reason alone, an Iranian woman is hands down worth ten of each of the women mentioned above. Sadly though it seems that is not a trend that has passed to the the current generation. >>>

Anousheh's dream comes true

Posing a general question on philanthropy
Behrouz Bahmani

I read a lot of emails opining on Anousheh Ansaris self-funded $20-million expedition to outer space, as the first female Space Tourist, realizing her long held childhood dream. At first, I like everyone watched incredulously, and I will admit, rather annoyingly with a good dose of jealousy to boot, at what appeared to be nothing more than a spoilt rich person's exercise in excess, an awful waste of an awful lot of money. As Anousheh blogged her way across my day from the outer sky, sliding past the horizons of my web browser and the earth, telling me how this was so inspiring or that was so incredible, describing every daily detail of every meal inside her clean white habitat, I could at first only think of the many other things one could do with the money being spent on this glorified roller coaster ride >>>

Reading Shahnameh in Paris

Over the years, the two women developed a special bond
Afdhere Jama

The Marais district of Paris is full of people some would not really expect in the heart of Paris, like Iranian lesbians. A traditional neighborhood of Jews, Le Marais is now famous as the “gay” neighborhood of Paris. Many of the gay restaurants, clubs and other happenings are found here. But it is because of the atmosphere of this district that attracts them, say the locals. A 37-year-old Iranian lesbian named Parvaneh is visiting a young (man and woman) couple who live in a tiny studio on rue Sainte Croix de Bretonnerie. They also happen to be Iranians. But “they are not gay,” Parvaneh assures me, “they are young, educated and open minded. And last summer I met them at a rally outside of Paris for Maryam Rajavi. We have become very close since, and I’m here today because I’m in search of moral support.” >>>

My beautiful gold digger
Siamack Baniameri

I asked a gorgeous Iranian girl to consider going out with me. She said that our 20 years age difference concerned her. I told her that my mother is 30 years younger than my dad and they're doing just fine. She said that she does not find my receding hairline very attractive. I assured her that the size of my endowment will make up for that. She said that my bad teeth and awful breath are further reasons for apprehension. I told her that the size of my savings, checking, 401K, IRA accounts, and real estate investments will make up for that. She said that she finds my short height and huge nose unsightly. I told her... >>>

Profound blindness

Male domination and the gazing Narcissist
Leila Farjami

A couple of recent Iranian male writers of have graciously voiced their concerns about the rising number of Iranian women claiming their rights as equal partners. Of course, no narcissist wants to lose his position in a power/control game; however, a narcissist always acts to his own detriment. Take the myth of Narcissus for instance: a beautiful man gazing at his own celestial image in the reflecting waters, frozen, immobile, eternally unaware of all other possibilities within himself. This is the death of the human soul: the rigidity and inflexibility of the mind >>>

Go back to your cave

If you abuse your wife and think you can get away with it, think again

Any idiot can go out there and make a child, but it takes a man to raise a child. It takes a man to get up in the morning, whether he likes it or not, and go to work and bring food to his family. With the kind of language Sima Shirazi uses, it won’t be very long that he would loose any kind of job he may have. Let’s see how long he would last in a work place when he calls one of his co-workers a derogatory name. There are laws in place to protect the people against someone like Sima Shirazi. You guys out there who are saying Sima Shirazi is right, think intelligently, this country is not Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). You cannot be disrespectful to your wife, and think you can slap her around and then divorce her, and take other wives. The laws in most of the States, especially in California, are geared up to protect the children and the women >>>

I'm the boss

Khoda made women to please us and NOT the other way around
Sima Shirazi

Sometimes a man has got to take a stand for one of his buddies. It's one thing to be pussy whipped at home, but to be disrespected when you're out in front of your friends is a completely different story. You've got to keep your bitch in line because if you don't one of your friends might just do it for you and tell her to shut her big fucking mouth. Goddamn, you know how Iranian women bitch. It's enough to make a man climb a clock tower somewhere and start shooting innocent fucking strangers. One thing is for sure; the men who treat their women like Persian princesses, the men who adore and pamper their wives, the men who make jackasses-out-of-themselves being romantic fools are the ones who become pussy whipped the fastest. Men who treat their wives like shit with the occasional pimp slap on the ass, now and again, and men who treat their girlfriend like a fifty dollar whoe, are the ones who get the most respect, the most sex and the most of whatever they want from their bitches, Persian or not! >>>

Khandan Golmast

I spent two long years working at a shelter for battered women. While the women who walked through the doors came from all walks of life, all races, socioeconomic classes, ages, appearances - they shared one unmistakable quality that perhaps only those seasoned in work with abuse and rape victims can recognize: they enter the shelter doors with heads down but as they race their necks, their faces reveal eyes that burn - this is not poeticism but the only way I can describe this very particular look. There is a contradictory nature to their pain which makes it all the more real and haunting. It is one of immense sadness and at the same time rooted anger. A settled submissiveness cavorts with an equally entrenched rage. Years of abuse and in many cases rape- the absolute violation of a woman in every cruel sense - manifest into a silent scream residing in the eyes of these women >>>


She opened the back door to a white Peugeot and sat
Sanaz Fotouhi

For the first time since she had been dropped off in front of Golestan mall, one of the most popular and expensive malls in Tehran’s upper-district, she turned around slightly. ‘Come on boys, follow me... ’ she gestured with her hand, walking along the sidewalk of Golestan avenue, holding her head up, not even once looking back. Her sheer white scarf hung way back on her head, exposing her almost blonde hair. Her slender body was covered by a skin tight mantou, revealing her small curves. Underneath her very short mantou she wore three quarter white baggy, Bermuda pants. Her white sandals revealed perfectly manicured red polished toes. As she walked she twisted something like a necklace around in her hand, swinging it around her finger and then twisting it the other way around. As she would do this, she would blow a big bubble with her gum and blow it, very effortlessly and carelessly >>>

Shame on shame

Shiraz 1982

Mom and Dad were fighting again. It happened almost every night. Dad came home long after midnight while Mom was sitting by the kitchen table, satring at something on the wall, waiting for his return and then the regular quarrel would follow. The economy was tight and also the tolerance of the people who had lost everything they owned in the very first few weeks of an unwanted war was so limited. One single wrong move resulted in lengthy quarrels. Each night the sound from the couple's bedroom would wake the children first and sometimes the whole block. Words followed by shouts and then screaming, things being hurled at one another and objects being thrown to pieces. When these noises woke the children, Jomee would hurry to their room and take them in his arms, wiping their tears with his calloused hands. Rocking them in his lap, kissing and cooing in their hair, saying nice things, making them feel safe and secure >>>

What has happened to Iranian men?
Faramarz Fateh

Los Angeles -- Most of us agree that majority of men in Iran enjoy a so called higher station in the "mard salar" society of Iran. For example, women can't go on a trip without their husband's permission. The men (fathers) get custody of children in case of divorce. Women can't get bank loans without a male cosigner. The list goes on. Believe me, I am the first to disagree with this situation as I fully support equal rights for the sexes. But, I am amazed as to what has happened to Iranian men here in the U.S. We have become a bunch of "zan zaleels" and "zan shaheeds". I look around me, and most men I know are under total control of their wives >>>

First Iranian Flash Gordon

Iranians respond to Anousheh Ansari's weblog
Peyvand Khorsandi

Khanoumeh ansari, az taraf-e hameyeh zan hayeh eerani khastam begam ke ma eftekhar meekonim shoma avaleen zan-e eerani hastid ke be Kazakhstan rafteed. Man chandeen bar khastam beravam Kazakhstan vali har chi hesabesho kardam, deedam khabari neest oonja. Hala ke shoma rafteen omidvaram man ham yek rooz pool dar besham beram. -- Morvarid, Mazandaran >>>

Getting what you deserve

An educated, successful, and beautiful woman who is ridiculously falling for a "loser" and suffering -- for what?
Sophie Saviour

I am just a simple woman who loves to be treated nice and be pampered from time to time. But for God's sake, as a woman, grown up in that environment, I've come a long way and should have learned one or two things during my journey! Finding excuses for the guy -- thinking that he may have been abused, or hurt badly before, or he may be shy -- is what all women ordinarily do. They even feel sorry for him in case he has some physical issues (you know what I mean). But these are all lame excuses. The same loser, when he sees a sluty girl who doesn't really respect him, and treats him like dirt, changes his attitude! Suddenly Mr. Afsordeh behaves like "Assdollah Mirza"! Boy, it IS funny, isn't it? >>>

Over and under the veil

An analysis of women’s body image pre and post evolution
Mahnoosh Nik-Ahd

With each historical event, society evolves with some continuity and some change. Camron Michael Amin has said, “Assessing the degrees of continuity and change in any given period is the essential burden of the historian”. The Iranian revolution of 1979, too, brought some change in the status of women, but the objectification of Iranian women’s bodies has maintained its legacy even past the revolution. When discussing Qassim Amin’s The Liberation of Women, Leila Ahmed says that his book is based on the thesis of “changing customs regarding women and changing their costume”. Although the Islamic revolution has made hijab compulsory in Iran since 1979, hijab still does not separate Iranian women from the West. Rather, hijab has been used incognito to embellish the status quo before the revolution and to continue to objectify the bodies of Iranian women >>>

Thank you mom

Whether your mom is a famous singer or just a house wife remember they have done everything they can to raise us right
Borzoo Yazdanfar

Recently I was blessed with the news that my mother was coming to visit me. I hadn't seen her for almost 2 and a half years. I couldn't Wait any longer the anticipation was killing me. You all know her as ELAHE, well at least anyone who grew up in Iran does, I know her as mom or maman. When I tell people who she is, the first reply is "oh, Elahe she's an icon, I remember her from when I was a little girl..." an so on". And usually I'm thinking (lady you've got to be at least 20 or 30 years older than my mom!), then I had to remember that my mom has been singing for 40 years and I'm 32 and still her little baby boy, so it all makes sense again >>>

Nashaayad ke naamat nahand aadami

Let me make it simple for you: Let's assume that, Anousheh Ansari, is a brilliant, super intelligent, hardworking, ambitious, business guru and possesses all the positive features that you may wish to attribute to her... The fact that every average worker in the country, be it a civil servant, a teacher, or a nurse, must have three jobs in a day to make ends meet may go unnoticed by the Iranian settlers of the United States who left their troubled homeland behind and arrived in the land of opportunity to make their American dreams a reality, but it is adding insult to injury to suggest that Ms Ansari, is in any way representing her homeland by paying an astronomical sum of $20 million to realise her dream of a space adventure. What consolation is that to all the down and out of her impoverished homeland? >>>

Space tourist & the Islamic Republic

On Anousheh Ansari's commercial space travel
Omid Masoudi

It's good to be a woman (in the USA)
Faramarz Fateh

Yesterday as I was browsing through the new Nordstrom catalogue, I noticed that the first 47 pages were dedicated to women, a few to children and the last 6 pages to men. It got me thinking. Most everything, with the exception of male entertainment such as topless dancing establishments, ARE really for benefit of women. If a woman has bad skin, there are 100s of products to heal and conceal the "bad" skin. If a man has bad skin, well, he is shit out of luck. If a woman is short, she can wear 4" heels; can you imagine a guy wearing 4" heels? I agree that 99% of guys probably don't want to wear heels, but what if a guy did? >>>

Fame, fortune & false hopes

Anousheh Ansari is not a role model for having paid the $10 million to go to space
Azam Nemati

It always saddens me to see female members of the younger generation when they come across as airheads focusing on insignificant matters considering the opportunities they have to make a difference by all the learning opportunities available to them in the West... Either this writer [see: "Rocket on Anousheh"] is not surrounded by highly educated and compassionate Iranians or she is isolated because you talk to anyone with average intelligence and they will tell you Mrs. Ansari is not a role model for having paid the $10 million to be on the list of people wanting to go to space. Those opinions are from people of all nationalities which I hear from. That kind of money can empower many people to be a valuable member of the society and make a difference. Mrs. Ansari's ambitions to make a name for herself and boost her ego. God forbid she would quote an Iranian because we have shortage of valuable quotes from our brilliant pats and present people >>>

Mac friendly

Nazanine Moshiri, newscaster, ITN, London
Peyvand Khorsandi

“Has my friend checked your bag?” the old security guard says. “Yes,” I reply. His colleague, a young Asian chap wearing shades, has indeed perfunctorily inspected one pocket of my laptop holder, not the one where the bomb is. A software quirk means the interview with ITN newscaster Nazanine Moshiri takes place on my mobile phone. (She has one too – identical. “They’re great,” she says.) >>>

Zood baash digeh!

Men who do "too little too late" to woo their women
Sophie Saviour

What's wrong with guys on the West Coast (or perhaps the whole of North America ??... I am not sure as I haven't dated all of them yet!) that they don't recognize when the time is right, or the fact that they should make an effort or make a "move" sometimes! They normally do it when it's too late and the girl is already frustrated. Well, of course if they still do it properly, there is a chance! But no way! They do too little too late. That combination is deadly; like "nooshdAroo ba'd az marge SohrAb." I used to go out with this Canadian guy (born and raised in Canada vs. me, being born and raised in Iran and moved here after 30!), and it happened! We met in a professional program at the university and somehow everything clicked >>>

Rocket on Anousheh
Saman Ahmadi

My mom, who lives about 90 miles from me, recently had the satellite that receives the Iranian channels installed. I visit her on some weekends and channel-surfed through the 1001 Persian language stations a couple weeks ago... We pride ourselves on the 2,500-year heritage of a culture that has produced great art and science and this is what we show the world we can do with freedom? I will be walking a little taller next week when Anousheh Ansari roars into space on a Russian craft. I lived in Dallas when she and her husband ran Telecom Technologies – one of my friends worked there. In the her interview with The New Times, she said that “[a] guiding principle of her life... is a quotation from Mahatma Gandhi: ‘You must be the change you want to see in the world.’ ” >>>

Players & losers

There's still so much more that needs to be said but I'm done thinking & talking and BEING with Iranian guys, til I find one that can truly be called a MAN

I'm not going to hurt your head with complicated words & long paragraphs (not TOO long anyway).The only reason I decided to write this artice was to get this off my chest... & offend some Iranian guys. I know there's a lot of articles on Iranian guys and how much they suck. But that's only because they always piss us Persian girls (and everyone else I think) off and do the most stupid things. After spending 10 years outside of Iran, I have dated guys from other countries and even though you can find some real dumbasses & idiots & lowlives in them, I've never seen any that are worse than our own pretty (hairy) Persian guys. I hate to diss people from my own land but it's really getting to me and I need my voice to be HEARD... or at least my article to be read >>>

Million signatures for women

International support for Iranian women’s
campaign for equal rights

Iranian women’s rights activists are initiating a wide campaign demanding an end to legal discrimination against women in Iranian law. The Campaign, “One Million Signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws,” which aims to collect one million signatures to demand changes to discriminatory laws against women, is a follow-up effort to the peaceful protest of the same aim, which took place on June 12, 2006 in Haft-e Tir Square in Tehran. Preparation activities in support of this campaign commenced in June of 2006 and the campaign will be officially launched on August 27, during a seminar entitled: “The Impact of Laws on Women’s Lives.” >>>

Make her breakfast

More advice to Iranian men
Azam Nemati

I have been observing our men and women behavior since I was very young. Although I agree that most Iranians did not know how to be a couple, I disagree that nowadays they do not. I do not mean to be biased but I am so impressed that some of the Iranian housewives who can not read English do watch Iranian relationship experts and read articles in Farsi about improving their relationship skills. Let's remember that our society for the most part wanted women to be mothers, wives and obedient (which meant follow husband's instruction no matter how stupid). The last one was considered great quality. I believe one can be a great mother, lover and partner if the man has enough confidence to see that an equal partner makes life a lot easier and more enjoyable >>>

The Iranian downfall

Iranian husbands need to understand that times have changed
Kourosh Arianejad

By the time they reached maturity, where a woman learns relationship skills, many Iranian women were left independent and learning how to survive on their own. Although this independence is a great skill, they come to expect it even after marriage. Very few of the world’s societies are matriarchal, and neither the United States nor Iran are one of them.   The major problem, however, seems to lie with Iranian husbands. Many were raised and even instructed to believe that the male has absolute authority in the house and nobody can voice their opinions if they go against his. The roles of men and women have changed, however, and families are no longer like this in America or in Iran >>>

Islam in public

Book excerpt
Elham Gheytanchi

Change in Iran in me

What struck me most were the things I discovered (and discovered anew) through the eyes of an ardent feminist, almost none of which were positive or optimistic in their outlook
Jairan Sadeghi

On one of the first days I spent in Iran, I told my father that I planned to set out to explore the city by foot or by taxi. He looked at me as though in shock, stating that that was a bad idea and that "I would not be left alone". I was not totally naïve to what he meant by that. I knew that I would probably get the occasional whistle, the dirty word muttered by some passing dude, or on a really bad day, a furtive grab at my glutes. I tried to shrug off his advice and tell him more about my planned destinations and sights. He did not drop the matter though, and insisted that I wait for my brother to do the driving. "You don't know what it's like," he said. "It's gotten bad, really bad. They're going to make 'assumptions' about you." "Assumptions", I thought angrily. I had every right to waltz out into those streets. And so, the next day when I found myself alone in the house, I donned my unassuming hijab and my don't-mess-with-me scowl >>>

Simply a stunner

The proper etiquette of meeting Shahrnush Parsipur in the United States
Golbarg Bashi

The English translation of the novel Touba and the Meaning of Night ( by the pre-eminent Iranian writer Shahrnush Parsipur was recently released by a major US publishing house in New York. One no longer needs to have an Iranian passport or an Iranian visa to get onboard Parsipur’s imaginative boat... At the conclusion of the Feminist Press reception, I arranged to see Parsipur for lunch on the following day so I could interview her, and she gracefully agreed. At about noon time the following day, and over my husband’s outstanding Baqali Polo, we sat down and reminisced about Touba, Mahdokht, Zarrin, Mones, Farrokh-Laqa and most importantly Shahrnush... >>>

Mard saalaari - Pedar saalaari

An individualistic attitude towards patriarchy will never solve the problem
Homayoun Abghari

Lost in life

Gentlemen, do us (women kind) a favor and never get married
Sholeh Ja

I wasn't going to write about this but I thought if I could help only one person out there, it is well worth the effort. Let me begin by saying that I am not a writer, so pardon me if I am not doing a good job. This story started when I went to the local bookstore in Los Gatos, California, to pick up a magazine, have a cup of coffee and relax after a hard working day. Since I do not look Persian, the two gentlemen sitting next at me, did not see a need to lower their voice, therefore, continued their conversation: #1: Midoni zanha aslan mikhan mard haro avaz konan. Natureshon hast. Ta ba adam dost mishan ya dastor midan ya mikhan akhlaghato avaz konan. Deroz barayeh avalin bar ba Soodabeh raftam biron... >>>

Anti-Islamism does not justify racism

An Open Letter to Oriana Fallaci
Azar Majedi

It seems to me that the hate against Islam has pushed you towards Christianity. You have even visited the Pope asking him to take a stronger stance against Islamism. This I find puzzling. How does an atheist in hate of one religion take refuge in another? Your hate against Islamism and political Islam finds expression in Euro centrism. Your disapproval for multiculturalism and cultural relativism has led you to defend “western culture”, instead of universal rights and secular, humanitarian and libertarian values. As a young girl growing in Iran, under the rule of Islam, I read western philosophers and writers to educate myself with enlightened principles and values regarding equality, freedom and women’s rights. I chose the libertarian and egalitarian side of Western culture, and I am bewildered why, you an atheist, a fighter against fascism, had to resort to Euro centrism and racism in order to defend Western culture >>>

Pretending nothing happened

The courage and determination of Iranian women participating in the June 12 protest for equal rights went far beyond what was suggested in article

Dear Editors of to Monthly Review, In a recent posting on [ &] your web site, Rostam Pourzal uses an anonymous email by a ‘witness’ in Tehran to deny the extent of the repression of women demonstrators by vigilante Islamic police on 12 June  2006. Pourzal tries to portray president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a ‘popular’, ‘radical’ figure, and tries to underestimate, justify and excuse the brutal, repressive nature of the Islamic regime in Iran; in doing so he makes various assumptions and claims that we will deal with in a another posting.  However as far as the events of 12 June in Tehran are concerned, contrary to the claims of the anonymous ‘observer’, the extent and intensity of the  brutal attack on the peaceful women’s demonstration was far worse than that portrayed by the BBC and the international media >>>

Thou shall love no one else but me!

Iranians revisited: mother-son relationships
Ms. Insight

The mothers as covert lovers and the sons who cling to them as their own eternal saviors and undying icons of perfect love and divine security are countless in the Iranian culture. An overbearing mother’s characteristic signs are: feeding the son with excruciating guilt for making rightfully personal choices, interacting in a purely conditional manner as if every gesture of affection or kindness is being executed with some degree of effort and burden, interfering with the son’s matters of the heart; incessantly disapproving the son’s partners or significant others; having the “no one is good for my son” attitude, manipulating circumstances and situations to her own benefits and personal merit instead of considering the son’s ultimate happiness, individuation, and independence >>>

Things I learned from watching football with my husband

Pillango Farfar

I don’t know how many women watch football, but definitly not the ones I know. I thought why not for once sit down and watch a football game with my husband and try to grasp what it is that he like so much about this game. I watched a couple of games with him and found out interesting things. I also ended up having some questions. Like who decides what color outfit the players wear? Who designs them? I thought maybe the chosen color had to be in harmony with where the players come from >>>

Don't arrest me just because I'm beautiful

Scenes from Tehran's Golestan Mall
Ramon Kashkooli

The three girls walked into Golestan Mall. They were pretty, real pretty, tight jeans, tight smocks covering tight shirts with tight roosaris barely covering long beautiful hair. One stood out more than the other two, a spitting image of Charlize Theron. Charlize really is a brunette right? They walked and smiled and talked and giggled and glided gorgeously across the white shiny marble floor of the mall. Outside a white police car with the words "Ershad" (orthodoxy) pulled up to the curb. Out stepped a fat officer, gestapo styled cap cocked sleazily to a slight angle. He had a scowl on his face already. He waddled and followed the girls immediately. He pulled up behind them, quickened his pace until he was alongside them, and barked, "Khanoum Een Cheh Vaazesheh!" (Miss, What's all this then?) Charlize turned around, and said "What?" >>>

Remember 22nd of Khordad

Support Iranian women, condemn violence and arrests of peaceful activists

The peaceful women's rights protest demanding changes to family laws and legal discrimination against women, which took place between 5:00-6:00pm on June 12, 2006, in 7 th of Tir square, in Tehran, ended in extreme violence when police attacked the crowd with batons, and pepper gas. A large number of police and security forces arrived at the scene hours prior to the scheduled event in an effort to prevent the protest from taking shape. Despite this, it is estimated that several thousand protesters were dispersed throughout 7th of Tir Sqaure, which is one of the main squares of Tehran. The names of those arrested and released are unsubstantiated. But thus far, the following persons have been reported as arrested: >>>

Red hot pepper spray

Women's rights gathering in Tehran
Golbarg Bashi

This gathering occurred on the anniversary of a similar protest last year in front of Tehran University, when a group of Iranian women and men came together peacefully demanding a change in the rules and regulations specifically targeted against the civil and human rights of women in the Islamic Republic. This coalition of individuals, associations and NGOs that had attempted to put their “grievances and demands through civil disobedience” had formed “the largest independent women’s coalition to appear since the fall of the Shah”. The sit-in on 12th June 2006 had been widely advertised online and was a peaceful plea to the Iranian government to change its unequal gender laws. The principle demands were as follows: >>>

Beating women

We are dealing with violent and dangerous animals
Lance Raheem

How and why we, the men of Iran, have stood by and done so little for our brave women while they have, for nearly three decades, been suffocating as second-class citizens boggles ones mind. Have we no honor, no courage? Have we forgotten our manhood? How is it that we have not stood against those that have stripped them of their rights as Iranians and their dignity as humans? How is it, that in silence, we have allowed them to be beaten, tortured, raped and killed without running to their defense? Why have they had to stand alone on the frontlines of their quest to be treated equally under the law? How is it that they became the courageous and we became the meek? Have we forgotten who we are? Have we forgotten who they are? They are the heart and soul of our country >>>

A bug invite... please bite

Larry Evans

This Invitation comes to you from the Mount Lebanon Lady Bugs Soccer Club of Pittsburgh, PA, USA. The Bugs have learned that they can do-it-all on the even playing field of sport and this healthy physical confidence has given rise to their maturing into the belief that they can strive to know-it-all on the somewhat uneven playing field of life. That is why on this Make-a-Difference Day, the Mount Lebanon Lady Bugs invite you to help them make some sense of this world by joining them in friendly sport and fundraising for a cause they became aware of during this year's World Cup -- Iranian women and girls NOT having the right to attend men's soccer games. The Bugs were surprised to learn about the female ban by Iran and they would like to peacefully confront that decision by playing a symbolic soccer game with an Iranian girls team without any restrictions on who can attend and with any charitable proceeds going to help promote girls soccer in Iran >>>

Here we are

Capturing a new literature by Iranian women of the diaspora
Jasmin Darznik

A quarter century in the making, Iranian-American literature has reached its most vibrant and exciting phase ever. And at last we’ve got the book to prove it. Edited by Persis Karim, Let Me Tell You Where I Have Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora is the first anthology of writing by women of the Iranian diaspora. It contains over a hundred selections of poetry and prose by more than fifty writers. With humor, rage, eloquence, and compassion, its contributors give voice to what it means for Iranian women to live -- and write--in the West today >>>

Dirty tricks

Ali Dadpay

The Islamic Dress Code is NOT even a law yet. It forces a certain standard on dress and to be honest conservatives have played their hand very intelligently. They brought a group of people, who constitute a minority in Iran, to Majlis. They were opposing the current situation and fashions in Iran last month, then conservative leading MPs left the Majlis session to give guarantees to these concerned citizens, whose opinion apparently is not shared by the youth and a large group of people. Then Majlis started to ratify a new law to safeguard Islamic values in the society, based on its members understanding of them, which many oppose. There is nowhere in this law such additions forcing minorities to wear colored ribbons, there is not even such an intention. Actually this law is meant to make life difficult for the Muslim majority (98%) and the youth not the minorities >>>

Saving Nazanin

Former Miss World Canada struggles to save 18-year-old Iranian woman from execution
Darius Kadivar

Afshin-Jam, considers Nazanin to be the real victim rather than the criminal in this case, and is determined to help save the young teenager's life, and is using her own International fame to draw attention to the teenager's predicament. If nothing else, it seems to spur on the determination of Afshin-Jam, a former Warrant Officer First Class of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets and a Political Science Student. To raise awareness to this case, she has launched an online petition to support this cause. However, it is very likely that the Iranian Judiciary will carry out the death sentence. This makes Afshin-Jam's petition all the more important and her struggle to save her compatriot all the more urgent >>>


Short story about battered women
Daniel Zangeneh

Sheyda was wearing a short white manteau over short blue jeans, a little over her ankles, and high-heal black shoes. She covered her beautiful dark brown hair with a designer white-and-light-blue scarf. Her long black eyelash made her gorgeous eyes so stunning that one would never want to stop looking at them. Her smile was so mesmerizing and addictive that you wanted to capture that moment eternally. Her incredible body was truly like an undiscovered southern paradise; as if God brilliantly sculptured her to just watch ceaselessly. "Mahsa Jan, please tell me, what do you think about Koorosh? Tell me the truth?" Sheyda said. "You are so damn lucky; he is so handsome, highly educated and damn rich. What else do you want? You are thirty-two-years old, you better act fast, " Mahsa replied with an envious smile >>>

The glowworm

I have always felt I can light up the forest with the light that illuminates from within my heart
Azam Nemati

Well as the only woman in my community who has no personal life so she is totally dedicated to empower Iranians by bringing us together and helping to empower each other, I used to go to Sofrehs so those who knew my name could put a human face to the name. I also had the opportunity to meet other people I could help in small ways. You see my concept of empowerment and help since I was a child is totally different than most people. I think if I can give advice to a woman which helps improve her life slightly then that is empowering to me. Fro example, I feel if I can help write and submit the resume of an Iranian woman (or man) so we can find her/him a job then that is empowering that person and I hope that this person would remember and helps someone else when the need is there.

Zanaan dar varzeshgaah

Allowing women into football stadiums? Big deal!
Shadi Amin

Kicking women

Photo essay: Women continue to press their right to watch football at Azadi stadium
Noushin Najafi

These pictures show the latest failed attempt by women to overcome a ban on entering Tehran's Azadi stadium to watch football matches. They were treated more viciously by the police than before. These days Iranian officials are so busy with the nuclear issue that they have forgotten about people's righs. While World Cup competitions will soon start in Germany, the mood in Iran is as depressing as a cemetery. The Iranian team will have no more training matches at home (they will play against Bosnia in Mashad, but no woman would dare try to get into the stadium in that religious city). So our efforts to gain the simple right to watch football will have to wait until after the World Cup -- if by then Iran has not been obliterated in a nuclear attack.

They OWE us

Mahdavikia will have to play extra hard during the World Cup
Assal Badrkhani

It was a shock last week when I came upon sporting headlines accusing him of having two wives. People will look at Iranians no different than they did in 1979 as those hostages were being paraded around for 444 days. A bunch of backward radicals. And that is a slap in the face to me and so many others because we are counting on these players for more than just to put a ball in the back of the net. My generation has no other heroes. We can't look to our honarmands and we can't relate to our politicians. We just have these guys and their sport. We have no flag. We have their jerseys. We have no real representatives to this world. Only their smiling faces, their amazing dribbles, their scores, their sportsmanship.

Religion and marriage
Mehran Ahmadi

Religion has been part of our lives if we want to believe it or not. I remember when I was growing up I would wake up to the sound of Azan every morning or the sound of Azan and prayer in middle of the night during the month of Ramadan. Then the summer would come and the Quran study schools just like Bible study clubs. Every morning I had to drag myself to the class yet to hear some of the verses that sounded very interesting. And of course the Revolution increased my exposure more to the religion. Until I moved to the United States about 17 years ago.

Don't cry for me, Oriana

Part 4: Returning to Iran: 1986-87
Sima Nahan

Iranian women -- those who "even here have demonstrated that they are equal to men" -- are not allowed a categorical denial of the veil. They have been forced to learn to swallow their modern rage against the "medieval rag" by perceiving it as the social/political phenomenon that it is, and trivializing the thing in itself. In fact, one could say that the most pervasive and systematic act of everyday rebellion against the Islamic Republic has been the untiring experimentation of Iranian women with maintaining feminine dignity and, indeed, beauty in the face of the humiliations of the hejab.

Noruz, my Mother’s Day

My mother was doing exactly what Noruz was about – being Iranian
Pouya Alimagham

Noruz, or the Iranian New Year, was an integral part of my childhood growing up in the United States.  Living outside of Iran made it somewhat difficult to celebrate Noruz as a national occurrence.  Had we been in Iran during Noruz then it would have been a national holiday for us because we would have experienced it with all of Iran. In other words, Noruz was a private affair for my family since we weren’t in Iran. Our nationally celebrated New Year’s Day was on January 1st with the rest of America.  Because we experienced Noruz abroad as a family affair, it wasn't New Year's Day to me but rather it was Mother's Day.

Abraham, Rostam & Oedipus

The Rostams have failed and are no longer desired. It is time for Iranian men to hand over the ruling of the country to women experts and follow their leadership by cooperating in fulfilling common aspirations
Vida Kashizadeh

The Iranian woman has been suppressed for 2 millenniums, that is since the Aryans invaded the land, but with times changing, her genetic disposition and heritage connecting her to the amazons has been forcing itself to the surface. Parallel to this awakening of the ancient instincts and the genetically re-emerging strength of women in their endurance and their perseverance, in addition to the skills they have gained in order to survive as an entity, the Iranian man's ancient anxiety has also been stimulated. In today's Iran men are anxious and women are fed up. The women have nothing to loose except their veils. There is no lack of human resources to bring change; the only thing needed is a decentralised coordination.

Women show the way

March of Iranian women in exile
Yassamine Mather

On a cold and rainy afternoon on March 8, nearly 1,000 people demonstrated through The Hague in a protest that was the culmination of a five-day march called by the Campaign for Abolition of all Misogynist Gender-Based Legislation and Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran. The call for the march, issued in November 2005, said: “If you are against death by stoning, if you are against forced veiling, if you are against the prosecution and imprisonment of women, if you are against lashing a woman’s body, if you are against any form of patriarchy, if you are against the medieval laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran imposing inequality on women - join the great march against anti-women laws in Iran’s Islamic Republic on March 8 2006!”

Khomeini, Fallaci, and the medieval rag

Part 3: Returning to Iran: 1986-87
Sima Nahan

In September of 1979, Oriana Fallaci was granted an interview with Khomeini, excerpts from which were published in the New York Times Magazine. It is a rare and symbolic audience: the emerging leader of Islamic Patriarchy vs. Modern Man qua Emancipated Woman (donning an obligatory veil in professional accommodation). It is a revealing instance of the intellectual and emotional impasse that has come to overpower so many attempts towards establishing an "East/West" dialogue. Khomeini's definition of freedom emerges in response to Fallaci's assertion that “many in the country say that the revolution did not bring freedom." Khomeini: “You saw very well how after the death of Ayatollah Taleghani millions of persons went into the streets without the threat of violence. This shows that there is freedom. It also shows that the people only follow men of God. And this is freedom.”

Father knows best

It starts even in families where children are not educated to believe in one simple fact, the truth, but one simple convenience, that dad is right
Ben M

When we say idolatry (botparasti) what usually comes to our minds, the Iranians and most Islamic nations, is something like what the pre-Islam Arabs in Arabia used to worship in Kaaba and at their homes or many other places. They were objects made of various materials. People used to believe in some magical powers that could protect or heal them and in order to have some kind of representation of that power, tangible and admirable, the pre-Islam Arabs had found a simple way, build something and hope that the respective god will hear you through that object. This was pretty much close to the symbolism in pre-Christian Europe as well where various gods used to be represented by various man-made objects, statues etc...

Khaak bar sare maa mardhaa!

Ali Hakkak

In any normal society, in case something like this happens the government and the police will not get away with that, easily. Iran is a different story! This is not the first time such obvious civil rights violations happen and it will not be the last one from what we see. What about the backlash? Well there is none! There is no democratic infrastructure to prevent such acts. At this point it is completely up to people. We can either choose to sit at home watch satellite programs and drink our illegal booze and shut up when the police and basiji officers ask us to, or stop digressing from “the political opposition” and stick together to form a collective soul. That soul doesn’t exist right now. We are all still hanging on to our MASH GHASSEM stories.

Still felt good

Forty people chanting across CNN Center in downtown Atlanta were not going to change a thing in Iran, but I still felt good
Tahereh Aghdassifar

Perhaps simply being reminded that other Iranians do care and do make an effort to attend such events made me feel less alone, despite sharp reminders as I looked around that it was only a very small number of Iranians that felt compelled to show up. Over the two hour period we stood yelling slogans and waving signs, a few cars honked in agreement, many people gawked from across the street and inside the CNN center, I caught a group of men snickering and muttering inaudible comments and twice, from what my friend and I witnessed at least, we were flicked off by passing cars.

Cries for change

Peaceful women's rights gathering in Tehran ends in violence
Anonymous report from Tehran

Approximately 1,000 women had gathered in Park Daneshjoo on the occasion of the International Women's Day to emphasize their stance in support of women's human rights and peace. The ceremony which started at 4:00 pm, and was scheduled to last one hour, was charged by security forces shortly after it began, who relentlessly beat the protesters, in an effort to disperse the group. Ten minutes into the protest, after security forces had managed to fully film and photograph the protesters for follow-up and interrogations at a later time, the women were asked to disperse, on the grounds that their assembly was illegal and did not have a permit. At this point, the protesters started singing the anthem of the women's movement, which again calls for changes in their human rights status.

Behind bars

Prison art: Women prisoners
Soudabeh Ardavan

Today I feel different

How to keep quiet and not to think about seeking a way to prevent war in the world?
Nahid Husseini

I have been out of my country, Iran, for a long time, because of political reasons. I have lived and travelled in different countries. I am familiar with different languages and cultures and have friends from different backgrounds, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Indian and Chinese. I am working in a college where, among my students, one is African, another is English, a third is Latin American, a fourth is from Eastern Europe and another is from the Middle East. Furthermore I am living in a quiet street in London where the neighbour on my right is French, the one on my left is English and the one opposite is Polish. The world is not as big as I had previously thought.

Common interests

This time, Iranian men find themselves to have common interests with women against the system which does not hesitate to undermine anything pertaining to human values, in the name of religion
Sohrab Ferdows unedited

March 8th every year is marked by women groups all over the world as universal women's day in order to bring in focus the centuries old struggle of women for equal rights in the society. This struggle has taken different formats at different times according to culture of different societies. In our country where culture has been extremely influenced by Shiite religious values for past few centuries, this issue became a serious matter for clergies who considered it an important element in their domain. In a society where people considered all kinds of atrocities permissible to defend their own sectarian values against others, any attempt in direction of equalizing men and women rights would face serious resistance led by clergy.

First victims

We should build a united force against political Islam whose number one target is women
Azar Majedi

For the past 30 years there has been a movement in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, Iran, and in the Islamic ridden countries that has gained power, which tries to acquire power in the region, and tries to become a power globally. It has based itself on religion, has based itself on Islam and has cashed on in people's sufferings and grievances to fill up the vacuum created in the political and ideological sphere in the region. Intimidation and terror is its strategic tool. The first victims of this reactionary movement are women. They have been raped, stoned to death, killed, maimed, flogged and their dignity violated. Political Islam promotes and mobilizes a very concentrated, coherent campaign to suppress and silence women in the Middle East and the Islamic ridden countries and also in Europe.

The question of women

Interview with Ayatollah Montazeri
Golbarg Bashi

Leaving Ayatollah Montazeri’s office, I remained convinced that despite all the hopes invested in the Reformist movement at the time, the persistent realities of women in Iran indicated that they still have fewer rights in family and citizenship laws than their male counterparts. I remained convinced once again that the fundamental problem we face in Iran is in fact in the letter and the spirit of the Shi’i law - medieval in its jurisprudence, feudal in its tenets, patriarchal and undemocratic in the very fabric of its lexicon and written into the skeletal vertebra of Iranian culture (Imperial, Leftist, Nationalist or Islamist).


On International women’s Day
Jahanshah Rashidian

As a proposal of the Socialist International in 1910, International Women's Day (March 8) was celebrated for the first time in many industrial countries.  It demanded the right to vote and to hold public office, right to work, to vocational training and to an end to discrimination on the job. Since then, the International Women's Day is commemorated and also is a national holiday in communist countries. It symbolises a long struggle of all women on all continents, with different ethnics, religions, cultures and social classes, who have been deprived from the equal right with men. Today, we know that struggle for equality, justice, peace, democracy, secularism and development is not separated from the struggle against Islamomisogyny.

King of spade beats the Queen

Female foeticide: Selective elimination of female foetuses
Iqbal Latif

The unholy alliance between tradition (son-complex) and technology (ultrasound) is playing havoc within Eastern hemisphere. From Arab world, Iran, Pakistan, India and China 'Sons are rising, daughters setting.‚ In two major 'super powers of population demographic growth' amongst the newborn boys out born girls by margin beyond permitted by Mother Nature over centuries of known data. 105 boys should be born for every 100 girls (Mother Nature prefers boys by 5%) but the birth mix is totally lopsided in favor of boys. It is around 119 to 100 in India and China and even in Iran the tendency of selectivity of male gender is obvious from the unofficial census results.

It's a bird ! It's a plane! It's Iranian women!

Iran is run by women in mnore ways than the world realizes
Jalil Mortazavi

Recently I had the chance to visit Iran for a couple of months. I spent much of my time with females from all walks of life, who work inside as well as outside of their homes. It has dawned on me that if these women decided to quit what they were doing, Iranian society would collapse. Here is what I found out about Iranian women: they come in all shapes and sizes. They drive, they fly, they walk and they run. Iranian women will email to say how much they care. The hearts of these women are what keeps Iran running, bringing joy and hope, compassion and ideals to their society. In the meantime, they also give moral support and love to their families and friends.

The violence that may never end

The ways that men dominate women
Maryam Nayeb-Yazdi

I started a project on violence against women for my Women Studies class at York University. Of course the topic was eye opening and very disturbing for me. As a woman, I can say that I have experienced some type of violence, even in the form of harassment once or twice in my lifetime. Of course the violence and uneasiness I have experienced in my life are not nearly as severe as some of the violence women experience everyday all around the world. As I got deeper into my research, something happened that I wasnít anticipating: I actually started to get mad, and I mean raging mad! I didnít know the women in the stories I was researching, but at the same time I felt a connection with them. Every night thereafter I had trouble sleeping, and a feeling of guilt swept over me. How could I sleep in peace when there are women out there who donít have the same luxury?

Freidan and me

She provided a language with which women the world over could shun traditional roles and break loose from the confines of a suffocating notion of femininity
Setareh Sabety

I was a little girl when I met Betty Freidan in Tehran.  She was attending a women’s conference organized by the Iranian Women’s Organization that was inspired and led by the Shah’s rather notorious sister, Ashraf.  My mother, one of the founding member’s of that organization, invited Freidan and Germaine Greer to our house for tea.  I Later when I came to study in America, I had the opportunity to study Freidan.  More than anything I found her simple explaining away of Freud’s notion of penis envy in women brilliant.  Of course, Freidan, argued in, “The Feminine Mystique” (1963), Victorian middle-class women had every reason to envy men but that was not due to an anatomical inferiority complex.  It was simply because men had more opportunities and choices available to them.  Culture not nature was responsible for their neurosis.

Family first

Once we are responsible for bringing another life into this world, it is essential to understand that it is no longer about us

Many pro-choice believers mistakingly assume that conservatives point a condemning and intolerant judgmental finger to those who either have had abortions or believe in the right to have them. Tolerance has only acceptable if it is directed to the liberal left. It is famously known that there is no such thing as tolerance for conservative-minded people in our society.  Speaking the truth about a procedure that is physically and mentally harmful and life threatening to women is not condemnation. We are women and life givers in every sense of the word. To deny that ability or to disregard the pain that is caused when we defraud ourselves as women of that right, is not natural.

My body, my choice

Pro-choice rally in Orange, California
Shahla Bebe

On January 22nd the National Organization for Women (NOW) commemorated the 33rd anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized a woman's right to abortion in the United States. At dusk, women's rights supporters gathered for NOW Orange County's annual rally and candlelight vigil in City of Orange.

Devil's maiden

Short story
Azam Nemati

It was one of those winter afternoons I could not t decide whether to hate or love. I had to stop at the bookstore to pick up a book I had ordered and then go to the Whole Foods store to pick up some groceries. I was in a state of sweet melancholy as I was listening to one of my favorite Iranian singers. As I pulled in the shopping center I decided to sit there for a while and listen to my favorite song in peace and savor the moment. I selected a faraway spot to make sure I would not draw any attention and parked. Opened the door to my side and turned off the engine halfway so I could continue to listen. I rested my head on my small pillow, which supports my neck and closed my eyes.

Swimming in freedom

Photo essay
Model, Sanaz

Good is not good enough

It is not possible to be truly morally good without acknowledging a higher deity to help us attain that goodness

It is unfortunate that many people do abandon their religion because of forced dogmatism mixed with politics. True religion and spirituality was never intended to be used as a political tool to control people. From my experience as an American with a Persian (non religious) father and an American (devout Christian) mother, I have to say that 90% of my interactions with other Persians have concluded contempt and indifference for religious and spiritual matters. I do not know if this is a direct result of living in an Iranian culture where religion and politics are not so openly discussed, or if it is a reflection of a generation with a dwindling sense of spiritual and religious desire.

Common good

Instilling universal principles of behaivor
Faye Farhang

Your essay makes the point that since religion, more specifically, Islam is rejected in one form or another by the majority of secular Iranians in the West, there's no other means to instill moral values into the children of Iranians living abroad. The latter is not only false but completely negates the very plausible idea that as Iranians or any other nationality, one can instill positive, and dignified morals into ones children without abiding by any religious persuasion. The possibility of living an absolutely moral life exists without practicing any religion.

You're joking, right?

To judge all Iranian women because you haven't met one that is religious enough for you is juvenile
Tahereh Aghdassifar

Why is it that if you cannot find an Iranian woman you are "compatible" with after dating five of them, that it is their fault for not being what you wanted? What gives you the right to generalize all, or even a majority of Iranian women, as those who don't care about their own culture and all purposely seek to marry outside of their ethnicity? Have you ever considered the fact that at least one of the five Iranian women you have dated have sat on a date and listened to you ramble and decided you were a judgmental fool who wasn't really seeking a true Iranian woman, who instead was really just searching for a religious Muslim?

Don't blame them

Really, is it any wonder that many Iranian women want to shun religion?
Lance Raheem

On one hand, you stated that Iranian girls are free to marry whomever they wish, on the other hand,however, you suggested repeatedly that "good religious Iranian girls" marry their "own kind." I take from this that you meant to say that Iranian men, whether good or bad, are free to marry "whatever kind they like." This sure looks like a double standard to me, but whose counting. There have been so many cruel and unfair double standards heaped upon our nation's women by the government of the Islamic Republic, whose going to notice that you've added one more to the pile.  Really, is it any wonder that many of them want to shun religion?

Invisible woman

That is the little mixed blessing I have of my past, a blank slate that I can write anything on
Parissa Sohie

My lack of memorableness was really bothering me.  Was I (and am I still) that forgettable.  WHY?  HOW?  I was speechless--almost. The good news was, that it was really entertaining M.  He’d walk around the house saying, “You look familiar.  I know your friends, but I don’t think I know you ... Who are you again?”  Clearly, the man was asking for it. When I stopped reacting to his obvious lack of humor, he encouraged me to find more friends from my past on Orkut.  He needed new material, and I couldn’t help but laugh at him -- because even in my mind there was a tragic-comedic twist to all this.

Chocolate god

Surely chocolate moose has a higher water content, and therefore would be a better representative of Jesus' body than some dry crackers
Behrouz Joon

Alireza’s claim that Iranian girls have a “lack of religious and moral values” due to their non-traditional upbringing outside of Iran by their parents (Islam-bashing or not), as well as noting the inability of Iranian girls to balance “freedom with modesty” shows just how ignorant he is of the first-generation experience.  Of course Iranians who are raised in America and elsewhere are different from Iranians raised in Iran.  We have a completely different reality to deal with outside of the household, and many of us had to do this with parents who knew just as little about how to navigate through American culture as we did. 

Best gormeh sabzi
Jasmin Darznik
writes: This fairy tale appeared in my e-mail box last night, but before I could reply, a virus struck, my computer crashed, and all my e-mails were erased. In a desperate attempt to find its sender, I am publishing the tale here according to my best recollection:

Once upon a time that has yet to exist, in a land far away indeed, a lovely Persian princess sat reciting verses of Rumi on a sofreh bedecked with dates, pomegranates, and her very own dainty qeyloon. Suddenly, a frog hopped onto the scene.

"O princess," croaked he. "I was once an elegant, handsome shahzdeh until a wretched djinn cast a spell on me. One kiss from you will restore me to my splendor. Kiss me and we will marry and my mother and I will come live with you in your castle, where you can cook all our meals and bear my children and we will live happily ever after."

That night, dining on a stew of sauted frog legs and succulent greens, the princess said to herself, "This is my best gormeh sabzi yet."

Where are our good girls?

When you don't believe in a religion you don't care as much about morals
Alireza M.

Reality states that for various reasons Iranian women have changed since the generation of our parents and grandparents; whether it be the 1) current regime, 2) lack of religious and moral values (Iranians raised or born outside of Iran), social problems, Iranian women in western societies not being able to balance freedom with modesty, mardaye Iraani badan, ect, it still doesn't change the fact that they have changed. 

Forough at 71

On the 71st birthday of Forough Farrokhzad
Fereidoun Farahandouz

Marriage advice

Why some work and some don't
Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari

Marriage is a two way street. If you treat your partner with respect and are honest with them (yes it does hurt sometime) you are one step ahead of a lot of people. The ones who have no respect or continuously lie to each other (no it can be about anything not just the big ones the little ones hurt too) have no hope for a future of love and happiness. They will either continue to live this way or end it in divorce after two or three kids and God only knows how many affairs. If they do stay together they begin to resent one another and then the snide remarks start.

>>> Women archive 1995-


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Book of the day

The Persian Garden
Echoes of Paradise
By Mehdi Khansari, M. Reza Moghtader, Minouch Yavari
>>> Excerpt