Zahra Rahnavard, Tehran’s women and the American mythos

Women rush to the aid of a man being beaten in Tehran.Women rush to the aid of a man being beaten in Tehran.

This picture makes me proud to be a woman. Also, yeah: don’t tell me my sisters in headscarves are passive, that they’re uneducated, that they’re apolitical (hi, Dr. Rahnavard, I hear you’re 64 and wear the chador) and automatically oppressed. There is nothing more political than these women, rushing forward in their religion and their politics. This is their revolution too. They will not disappear once it’s over (I don’t think it will ever be over).

Go here for quotations from Zahra Rahnavard. And go here for a bloody stupid line of reporting.

Nor do I like the awareness-raising meme post that’s been circulating on blogging sites, begun here. The sentiments are worthwhile (if poorly expressed), but the reference to how ‘For the first time in a long time, a voice for change struck the youth of Iran, just as it did for many people in the United States only seven months ago’ really bugs me. I know plenty of American media are suddenly interested in Iran because it can be written into a cosily Obama-analogous mythology now that the departure of Bush and the advent of Barack makes it easier for the US to look outwards and see itself as a saviour again, but, really. The situation in Iran, the situation in America? Zahra Rahnavard PhD, Michelle Obama? One of these things is not like the other. Iran isn’t important because it can be conveniently compared to the American mythos. The protests in Tehran aren’t important because they’re timely. They’re just important.

4 thoughts on “Zahra Rahnavard, Tehran’s women and the American mythos

    1. Well, I wrote it in a rush of temper last night and this morning dislike the style nearly as much that memepost. But I stand by the sentiment, so thank you very much! It’s great to see you over here again.


  1. don’t tell me my sisters in headscarves are passive, that they’re uneducated, that they’re apolitical and automatically oppressed
    Oh, yes. I’ve managed to filter my blog-reading down to ones that don’t trade in those stereotypes, but it still makes me bloody mad to see.

    Glad I’m not the only person who didn’t really like that post. It did seem awfully person-just-discovering-there-is-stuff-wrong-in-the-world.


    1. Yeah. I mean I know it’s a prejudice lots of people struggle with, but it makes me angry. I am always glad to see more images of women being simultaneously religiously engaged and politically active (except for when they’re, er, fundies), but this was a particularly great photo. And yeah, just – piss off, tiny evangelist, and please don’t assume all your readers are uninformed or American (or indeed uninformed Americans). Didactic impassioned blogging from a not-particularly-informed source is never a good way to get me to do anything; it makes me want to bite. But then I’m arsey.


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