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Profound blindness
Male domination and the gazing Narcissist


October 11, 2006

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 [See: " What has happened to Iranian men?" and "I'm the boss"]. 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.

As we observe in any patriarchal society, including the Iranian diaspora, we can always feel this air of perturbed unreality, the self-mortification of the Narcissus, the unrealized disease of many of our male counterparts. So you think you need to reclaim your generational throne because you are an Iranian male? Let’s talk about the natural disasters of this sinister dynasty. What is really the true cost of patriarchal chauvinism?

See Husband-killing on the rise in Iran. Also read the stories of some of these women here on the Amnesty International site.

Shahla Moazami, a criminologist in Iran, performed a conclusive research in 2003 on the topic of “spouse-killings”. These were her findings:

“From her interviews, Moazami found a clear and common pattern in the stories of the female killers. The women married young, often 12-14 years old, and they had from 5 to 7 children. At the time of the murder their average age was 29 years old. Many of them tell that their husband had lost interest in them, and they felt that their beauty was fading.

When a new man takes an interest in them, they fall easily for him. The law gives women few possibilities to get a divorce, and the murder of the husband is planned and done together with the new boyfriend. Only 33% of the women did the killing on their own. Moazami also found cases where women, sometimes with the assistance of their daughters, killed a violent husband.

Moazami thinks there are several structural causes to spouse killing. She mentions poverty, illiteracy, traditional opinions and Iranian women’s position in marriage and society. Young marriage age is also important. Moazami thinks that the women were too young to understand marriage when they married at 12-14 years old, and it was difficult for them make their own demands.” Source: Norwegian Information and Documentation Centre for Women's Studies and Gender Research.

Let’s tackle the first issue: marrying young. Who decides for a girl to marry young in the first place? Every one knows in traditionally male-dominated households, nothing takes place without the Father’s permission. So, the answer is a “Male”.
Who decides for women’s divorce? A male judge based on religious and patriarchal interpretations of family laws.
In 67% of the cases, who carries out the murder? A male lover.

Since illiteracy is indicated as one of the cultural triggers to spousal killing, in a traditionally male-dominated society, who decides when and why and how a young girl should go to school or if she needs to go to school at all? The Father; or any other empowered Male figure.

Isn’t it crucially striking that the Father, the Judge, the Killer, and the Murder Victim are all Males?

Of course, this is not to condone any form of killing! (as some of the opponents may love to conclude by reading this article); this is only to delineate the fact that male-domination is the first and foremost enemy of itself; patriarchy is its own foe. An insightful male effortlessly knows that holding an ax above a woman’s head ought to be a suicidal act; a will to self-mutilation.

So before you intend to get blinded by the false ideology of reenacting your forefathers’ mistakes; understand that the male psyche can not subsist without its female half-core; a stifled female Always means a Defeated Male. A Defeated Male means the endangered world we live in now. Comment

Leila Farjami is a poet, translator, child and family therapist, and art therapist residing in Southern California. Her recent book of poems entitled “E’terafnameye Dokhatarane Bad” can be purchased at //

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Leila Farjami


Book of the day

Borrowed Ware
Medieval Persian Epigrams
Translated by Dick Davis


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