Diving for Pearls: Robert Adanto’s Film

Pearls on the Ocean Floor, directed by Robert Adanto in 2010, profiles female artists who identify with an Iranian background to discuss their work.  The 16 artists explore the fluid confluence of identity, religion, and political expression for Iranian women as they strive to present it in their art.  The film is currently making its way in screenings across the world.Adanto features the artists’ works—who work in a variety of mediums—throughout the film, interspersing images of their art wi … [Read more...]

Within a Dream World: A Look at “Women Without Men”

Women Without Men, directed by Shirin Neshat, looks at the visually evocative and at times interspersing lives of four women in Iran in the early 1950s.  It is a time of political unrest, as Prime Minister Mossadegh faced increasing opposition from US and British-backed movements.  The film explores the women’s relationships with men and their understanding of sexuality, friendship, faith, and political involvement.  It is based on Shahrnush Parsipur’s Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran, f … [Read more...]

A Woman Without Hijab is Like a Chair with Three Legs

If you still haven’t figured out that wearing black chadors will save your worldly soul and that wearing lipstick and heels will get you sent to the hellfire, Iran’s “Cyber Group for Promoting Chastity and the Veil [Ifaf]" is here to clear that up for you.  They are sponsored by the Iranian government and have a sleek website where you can view their posters, buy t-shirts, and brush up on hijab laws in Iran!They have a new ad campaign for “good hijab” (because, you know, chastity really only ha … [Read more...]

For Neda: HBO Documents the 2009 Iranian Elections

As I snuggled on the couch to watch HBO’s documentary on Neda Agha-Soltan, I knew this wasn’t the time for popcorn. The first images that splashed across the screen were Agha-Soltan’s infamous last moments, which haunted viewers around the world exactly a year ago. The tone of onlookers and loved ones was agonizing, screaming as they crowded around her body, placing their hands over the bullet hole in her chest. As blood began to gush from her mouth and nose, Agha-Soltan’s eyes remained open. It … [Read more...]

Tavakoli’s Triumph: Scores in Chadors

Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is not to side with either the government or the opposition of Iran, but to analyze the use of gender in a recent campaign.Being a woman is considered so shameful that if you are an outspoken male opposition supporter in Iran, the press will release a picture of you wearing a headscarf and chador to humiliate you.This is exactly what happened to Majid Tavakoli, a prominent student leader in Iran (image below). Tavakoli was arrested in last week's … [Read more...]

Dreyfuss and Iran’s “Women Commandos”

If you’ve been following coverage of the fallout from the recent Iranian elections, you have been bound to see images of women in the streets as part of protests against the election results. In fact, the Western media has put a feminine face on much of its coverage of what is happening in Iran connecting feminism once more to Western interests in Iran and the region as a whole.Robert Dreyfuss’s op-ed for The Nation explores women’s role in the recent rebellion as well as the women’s rights mov … [Read more...]

The Guardian’s First Lady Faux Pas

During an election campaign, we often get articles focusing on the wives of male candidates. It is never surprising when there are an abundance of articles on how they dress and how much they support their husbands. The Guardian's recently published piece focusing on Zahra Rahnavard does not differ much from this norm. However, the conclusions reached in article seem to differ wildly from the same conclusions that would be drawn about Rahnavard's counterparts in the U.S. or Britain.What I … [Read more...]