Do Greens Represent Iran’s Women’s Movement?

While the Iranian authorities have effectively quashed all overt political organization for women’s rights, today women are the most dynamic group in Iranian opposition politics.

The feminist critique of the Green Movement is mainly focused on Moussavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard, whose name is often mentioned by the international and pro-Moussavi media as representative of Iranian women’s rights movement. Rahnavard shares a similar political background with her husband: she was a conservative Islamic activist in the anti-Shah movements which led to the Islamic Revolution. Using the pen-name “Zeinab Boroujerdi,” she wrote fifteen books which are mainly about Islam and women. Unlike the multitudes of Iranian women who protested compulsory Islamic veiling on March 8, 1979 in Tehran, she wrote about the necessity of Islamic veiling in her books, such as “The Beauty of Concealment” and “The Message Behind the Muslim Women’s Hijab.”

In contrast with Rahnavard’s views about Islamic hijab, Iranian feminists demand the abolition of mandatory veiling which forces women to cover their head and body in public. For the past 31 years, Iranian women have been subverting these laws in a kind of “fashion resistance.” They have been wearing their headscarves in a way that does not hide their hair. Tight coats, non-traditional clothes, like western jeans, high-heeled shoes and glamorous make-up are the oth…

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