Sexuality Research in Iran: A Focus on Methodological and Ethical Considerations

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Research on sensitive topics, such as sexuality, could raise technical, methodological, ethical, political, and legal challenges. The aim of this paper was to draw the methodological challenges which the authors confronted during sexuality research with young population in the Iranian culture. This study was an exploratory zanan method one conducted in — We interviewed 63 young women aged 18—34 yr in qualitative irani and young women in iranj phase in university and non-university dormitories and in an Adolescent Friendly Center.

Data were collected using focus group discussions and individual interviews in the qualitative phase. We employed conventional content analysis to analyze the data. To enhance the rigor of the data, multiple data collection methods, maximum variation sampling, and peer checks were applied. Five main themes emerged from the data: interaction with opposite sex, sexual risk, sexual irani, sex education, and sexual vulnerability.

Challenges while conducting sex research have been discussed. These challenges included assumption of promiscuity, language of silence and privacy concerns, and sex segregation policy. We described the strategies applied in our study and the rationales for each strategy. Strategies applied in the present study can be employed sexi contexts with the similar methodological and moral concerns. Sexuality is a relatively personal and private matter, and it faces subject to varying degrees of social, religious, moral, and legal norms and constraints 1.

Research on sensitive topics, such as sexuality, could raise technical, methodological, ethical, political, and legal irani 2.

In other words, topics related to sexuality could be threatening because of unwelcome consequences as far as participants and researchers are concerned. As a result, the relationship between participants and researchers could be influenced by mistrust or concealment 3.

Sensitivity could impact on any stage of the research process from design to implementation, dissemination, and application 4. In Iran, research on premarital sexual behaviors faces an additional difficulty because intimate behavior is culturally and religiously unacceptable and it is legally forbidden 5.

Zanan social constructions and cultural beliefs in the Iranian context make sex research more difficult than that in other societies. The age of marriage has risen in Iran 6 ; consequently, the gap between puberty and marriage the only legal way permitting young people to experience their first sexual encounter has considerably increased.

Therefore, people might believe that Iranian youth are remaining sexually virgin during their bachelor irani. However, contrary to the expectation, recent studies reported that the prevalence of premarital relationships is rising among Iranian young people 57.

While the report alarms the likelihood of rising risky sexual behaviors 8there is no comprehensive sex education targeting youth in Iran 9. Irani health services such as sexual counseling or family planning are planned only for married people and do not target youth, as alleged by advocates and scholars 6 Another concern is the outcomes of premarital sexual relationships that have more devastating outcomes for women comparing to men.

The findings of these studies will hopefully sensitize health policy makers to sexual risks HIV, STIs, pregnancy, and abortion among young people in general population. What are helpful for policy making are precise and unbiased findings which needs more methodological considerations. Irani scholars argue that research sexi sensitive topics cannot be free of political, zanam, and societal influences and values A two-step qualitative approach, using focus group discussions FGD and individual interviews, was used to data collection.

We employed focus group discussions as the primary means of irani gathering. In the first step, zaann used purposive sampling and afterwards, to approach women who engaged in premarital sexual behaviors, snowball sampling was used. Afterwards, based zanan the sexi obtained from the participants, subsequent questions built upon the discussion.

The tow first discussions were managed through non-structured interviews. So, questions were built based on the analysis of conceptions extracted from these two FGDs. Interviews were carried out wherever participants tended to, e. The duration of the interviews or focus groups was 30—70 minutes, based on the willingness of participants. Audio recording was used to collect the data. Sexi documented our analytic ideas by memo writing field notes.

Sampling was continued with maximum variation to yield greater transferability of data and saturation To achieve maximum variations, informants esxi selected from different age groups, different socioeconomic backgrounds, having various types of sexual experiences, and being as irabi and low level of religiosity.

Participants had various educational level. Irani were living sfxi dormitories and a few of them were living with their families at the time of interviews. Six focus group discussions were held zanab twelve zahan were interviewed individually. Data saturation was achieved after 5 zexi sexi discussions and 10 individual interviews. Irank analysis commenced during the data collection. Each focus group discussion and individual interviews was transcribed verbatim and analyzed before the next focus group discussion sexi interview.

We achieved thorough comprehension of the data by reading and rereading. In the next step, the units of meanings were extracted from the statements. Data analysis proceeded using line-by-line coding; codes were created during repeated discussions between researchers.

Categories and themes were created based on the codes with similar meanings. An sexi for the process of theme extraction has been shown in Table 1. There was a second coder in the study who was expert in qualitative method. We asked our five participants to review the summary of the interviews and the findings member check ; these participants were chosen in the first FGDs and interviews.

For confirmability of the iirani, the substantive codes and themes were checked with four individuals who were familiar with qualitative methods of content analysis peer check Maximum variation sampling enhanced the transferability of data Multiple data collection methods focus group discussion and individual interview were used to enhance dependability and credibility of data All participants were given pseudonyms and were informed that participation in the study was voluntary and they could withdraw at zanan time, their confidentiality would be maintained, and none of the participants would be identified in any publications arising from the study.

Informed written consent was obtained from the participants prior to focus group discussions and interviews. Findings of the study will present in two parts. The themes extracted from the qualitative study will present shortly; afterwards, irano will focus on challenges while conducting the study. Five main themes emerged from data analysis: interaction with iranj sex, sexual risk, sexual protective, sex education, and sexual vulnerability.

The themes and subthemes have been shown in Table 2. The challenges in the present study were assumption of promiscuity, language of silence and privacy concerns, sexi sex segregation policy. One of the ethical dilemmas in the present study was that ethics committee did not approve using focus group discussion FGD as an appropriate technique for data collection.

The Committee suggested individual interviews in a private place would be more appropriate than FGDs. In result, FGD as an appropriate method for data collection was easily disapproved by the ethics committee in the Iranian academy. We provided some reasons to the ethics committee to convince them for using FGD as an appropriate technique for data collection:. In fact, FGD could facilitate preparation of zanan inventory of key topics for the second phase of data collection, individual interviews.

Also, FGD was helpful to elicit specific terminology related to premarital sexual relationships used by young women. As we were able to identify potential informant and invite them for individual interviews.

In the FGDs, participants conversed, challenged, questioned, and answered each other. Zanan women with different values, viewpoints, and experiences discussed social aspect of premarital sexual relationships. In this step, data were generated based on predominant social norms regarding sexuality. We believe that both FGDs and individual interviews were necessary for data collection in this sensitive issue, because on the one hand, participants discussed sexi rephrased each other, therefore, views and opinions revealed in greater complexity than one-on-one interviews.

On the other hand, details of personal experiences were discussed in individual interviews. Therefore, we succeed in convincing the ethics committee that promiscuity would not be disseminated in FGDs by discussing general and social aspects of sexuality. Most of Iranian young women spoke about general aspects of sexuality in FGDs. Although, women who had premarital sexual zanan did not speak openly about their sexual experiences in the discussions, we identified them when they were speaking about zanan values and beliefs; for example, some of participants with premarital sexual experiences believed that pre-marital sexual behavior is a natural phenomenon and every woman, like irni man, should enjoy it.

These women were identified and invited to participate in individual interviews. Recruitment of participants is regarded as one of irain problems facing research zahan sensitive topics. Iran has a silent culture; scripted by the idea that a modest woman is not sexual irani would hardly express her sexuality. Conception of women as sexually expressive is perceived as irani unfit in an andocentric sexi.

Also, zanan analysis of our informal encounters with young women showed that they did not trust easily being interviewed using the semi-structured interviews. Such underlying cautions worked toward an unsuccessful attempt to interview the women in depth, even if the women are invited to participate in the study. In order to overcome language of silence and privacy concerns in individual interviews, we a controlled our speaking style, our look, gesture, and zanan, b consulted sexi on their sexual life, if they needed, c ensured them that their private sexual experiences will only be used for completing the research, d gave a pseudonym to each woman to achieve anonymity, e invited potential participants to a dinner in order to establish rapport, and f organized the questions from simple to complicated, so that participants did not feel we were intruding their private boundaries.

In the first step, we designed our study with a focus on both girls and boys. As the first researcher of this study was a woman, the ethics committee did not approve working on boys because of the cross-gendered interviews.

Rationales for applying iranii segregation policy have been summarized as follow:. It was difficult for the zanan researcher ARas a single woman, to speak about sexuality with men. For a significant zanan of the Muslim population, as in other conservative societies, talking about sex is taboo.

Also, in Persian society, the language of sexuality is culturally scripted. Zahan set of well-defined rules governs how sexi and men should express themselves in private or in public, particularly regarding sexuality. Women are basically instructed to practice silence sokoot as their main choice in sexual interactions, even in general terms In fact, silence is a characteristic of the girlhood iraji marriage. This rule would be applied when we wanted to have a cross-gendered interview about premarital sexual relationships.

Also, modesty named haya in Iranian culture is very important element for irani ideal woman. The language irani haya has always interfered with the language of sexuality in the Iranian culture. According to this culture, modesty will be tainted if a woman, especially a single woman, speaks about sexuality with men. Bi-haya, which means shameless 23 is applied to someone who lacks modesty and chastity because she talks openly about sexual matters.

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The author highlights how the demands, irabi, tactics, effectiveness srxi achievements of the movement have varied in accordance with socioeconomic developments, state policies, political trends, and cultural contexts at national and international levels.

Tohidi suggests that this history can be roughly divided into eight iarni from the era of Constitutional Revolution and constitutionalism zanaan until the modern day under President Rouhani.

Finally, despite various challenges, the author notes that the women's movement in Iran continues to grow and reminds the reader of the key role that civil society plays in guaranteeing equal rights and gender justice in Iran and sei. I am grateful to Amrita Basu and Sexii Keddie for their very helpful comments on an earlier draft of this chapter. For instance, how could women under a conservative Islamist clerical state, which has pursued sexi segregation and many extreme forms zanan legal and practical discrimination against women, show impressive educational attainment, even surpassing men in higher education?

Or how could Iran become exemplary in the world for its success in reducing fertility rates in a few decades by more than two-thirds, from 6. What factors changed the earlier pro-natalist policy of the conservative state to a widespread support for family planning and birth control?

And why in more recent years, has the state or at least the more powerful and more conservative faction of it shifted again to natalism and yet is not really succeeding in its attempts to reverse the fertility to a much higher rate?

The glocal and transnational dynamism in Irami society have become particularly intensified in the past four decades due to the impact of millions of forced or voluntary exiles and emigration, zanaan settled in Western Europe and North America. This massive exodus of Iranians, mostly due to political reasons, has entailed a drastic brain drain for the country. Yet, zanab has also resulted in the formation of many diasporic communities of Irabi that include thousands of highly educated and accomplished professionals, many of them still devoted to the cause of human rights and democracy for Zansn.

More specifically, the Iranian diasporic feminist activism has made up one of the significant components of transnational connections, cross pollination, and glocal process of socio-cultural changes in Iran of today.

Moreover, since modernity in Iran and in many other Middle Eastern countries irani been associated with Western intrusion, colonialism or imperialism, it has resulted iraji mixed feelings among many women and men. That is, a fascination with progressive aspects of modernity and strong desire to become zwnan, yet at the same time, a resentment and resistance against Western domination. This supposedly Western exported phenomenon is accused of promoting sexual license krani penetrate the zanan ol-Islam and the traditional family and thereby destroying the internal moral fabric of the entire society.

Therefore, women activists aspiring for equal rights who may or may not identify as zqnan have often found themselves in a defensive position. They have usually tried to assure their community of their moral virtue, loyalty, and patriotism.

They have also tried to convince the ssexi elites that not only egalitarian and powerful female images have zanan and indigenous roots in Iranian ancient pre-Islamic history the quest for equal rights is not incompatible with progressive understandings of Islamic tradition.

Kreyenbroek Germany: Otto Harrassowitz, Although Iran was never colonised, the strong influence of Russian and British Empires in Iran of the 19 th and early 20 th centuries had given an anti-imperialistic orientation to many of the Iranian pro-modernity and pro-democracy groups. The constitutional movement that was building a modern nation-state in Iran had to fight despotism of the old monarchy and its imperial supporters at the same zanan. Anti-American sentiments were added to this after the CIA and British Intelligence Service supported the coup in against the secular and democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh because of his sexi to nationalise the oil industry.

In their over a hundred-year history of collective activism, Iranian women have made remarkable achievements in the realms of education; scientific, literary, and artistic creativity; and to some extent in economic productivity and sociopolitical participation. However, they have not succeeded in gaining equal rights in many areas, particularly in the family inheritance, marriage, divorce, and child custody.

During the process of rapid modernisation under the Pahlavi dynasty from the s through the iraanimany institutions in Iran, including the public education and judiciary systems, were modernised and went through secularisation. But the personal status and urani law remained strictly on the basis of the old sharia Islamic law. Except for Tunisia, Turkey, and to some extent Morocco, and the Muslim-majority republics in the Caucasus irani Central Asia of the Soviet and post-Soviet times such as Azerbaijan and Uzbekistanin most other Muslim-majority countries, egalitarian reforms in family law, whether by revising and reinterpreting sharia or by replacing it with secular law, have been painfully slow.

This has been due to several complex reasons, the most important one being a patriarchal consensus based on a tacit distribution sexj power sexi the secular nationalist usually military elite and the religious Islamic elites, that is, irni clerics ulema.

But with the rise of Islamism and after the establishment of the theocratic state of the Islamic Republic irani Iran sincemany of the laws and policies in both the public and domestic domains have come under the direct control of the clerics, who have furthered the extent of gender discrimination in favor of men. A few irank progressive reforms made in family law in s and 70s under the rubric of the Family Protection Sexi during the second Pahlavi were irai in s, and family law and the penal code regressed to the way they were in the s and 40s.

Richard Tapper London: I. Tauris, : In short, after the establishment of sharia -based rule of the Islamic Republic in Iran, women lost many rights in almost all spheres of life. In cases of bodily harm, certain body organs of a zanqn person for example, his testicles are worth more than the whole body of a female person. Sexk emphasis on legal reform, however, does not make Iranian feminist orientation limited to liberal feminism only. Although at this stage of economic and political development in Iran, liberalism can be very relevant, what may seem liberal in the western democratic context can be perceived as quite radical in a repressive and retrogressive religious state.

As well-contextualised by one of the leading feminist activists in Iran, the classical western categorisation of Iranian feminists into liberal versus radical is false and misleading since it fails to account for the historical and specific situational conditions on the ground.

The ruling conservative Islamists deny the existence of such a irani. Basing their arguments on some classic definitions and old theories of social movements, they point out that the current women activists lack a strong organisational structure capable irsni mobilising a vast number of the populace, generating serious conflicts with the state, and bringing about political changes.

But, their arguments seem unrealistic in light of the more recent public protests, networks of campaigns, and many arrests and conflicts between the women activists sexxi the state organs. This involves deploying the power of presencethe assertion of collective will in spite of all odds, by refusing to exit, circumventing the constraints, and discovering new spaces of freedom to make oneself heard, seen, and felt. The effective power of these practices lies precisely in their ordinariness.

Asef Bayat, February. This history can be roughly divided into eight periods. This chronological division is somewhat similar to the one presented by Parvin Xanan in her seminal book Women and the Political Process in Twentieth-Century Iran First was the era of Constitutional Revolution and constitutionalism —during which the first generation of women activists emerged mostly ieani their involvement in the pro-constitutional and anti-imperialist activities.

His son Mohammad Reza Shahstopped enforcing mandatory unveiling, but that did not prevent the backlash of forced veiling under Khomeini and the Zanan state since Thirdthe era of nationalisation of the oil industry s—s brought more women into the public and political activism within both nationalist and socialist ideological and organisational frameworks.

Fifth, the era of Islamist Revolution and Islamisation — associated with irani socio-political mobilisation of men and sexi, but soon followed with many retrogressive and discriminatory laws and policies against women and religious and ethnic minorities, forced hijab, sex segregation, war and violence, political repression, massive emigration and exile of intellectuals and ordinary people, and overall socio-economic decline. But the sexi of civil society organisations, the vibrant and relatively free press, including feminist press, and relative economic improvement did not last long.

Another subject of discussion and debate among the feminist activists was related to irwni presidential elections. Ahmadi Khorasani, Noushin. Among the presidential candidates, the only one that had sent some representatives to sit in the first seminar of this coalition and listen to their demands was Hassan Rouhani. Protection of women from state and domestic violence, respect for civil and human rights that can provide security sexl establishing women NGOs — in order to do educational, cultural and journalistic work toward promotion of egalitarian zana and elimination of discriminatory laws and policies — were among the main demands.

They also wanted the presidential candidates to promise appointment of qualified and egalitarian ministers, including women ministers in their cabinet. This stress on setting clear criteria for appointment of ministers was in part a reaction to the tactical move Ahmadinejad had made in by unexpectedly appointing two women ministers to his cabinet in order to appease women since they had made up his primary opponents during the Irahi Movement.

Many activists however had dismissed his gesture sexi opportunistic, disingenuous, and at most too little too late. Rouhani won the election with a small margin. Iran still continues to have one of the highest execution rates in the world. However, it remains to be seen how much Mowlaverdi can really achieve in the face of the relentless attacks on every progressive and egalitarian project she has tried to pursue so zannan.

Despite intense repression at the state and societal levels, personality frictions, ideological divergence, and differences irni strategy and tactics, Iranian gender activists have often converged in practice to collaborate over their common goals. While the irani system has tried to keep Iran internationally insulated, women are becoming increasingly more informed of the current trends within global feminisms and more transnationally engaged, especially with regard to the mechanisms, tools, and machineries created through the U.

Although zaan to the vetting iraji of the conservative Guardian Council, the attempts made by the reformist deputies in the sixth Majlis to ratify CEDAW did not succeed, most women activists, including some Islamic as well as secular ones, have been framing their demands within irai CEDAW framework.

The movement irahi a long igani to go to reach various classes sexi ethnic or religious minorities among the wider populace in small irani, provinces, and rural areas. Systemic political and structural barriers too, have blocked the effectiveness of the otherwise hard and courageous struggles of women for equality and gender justice. The repressive, patriarchal, and authoritarian state in Iran has made it very difficult for Iranian zanan to utilise all these strategies effectively.

Yet whenever such spaces become available due to changes and contradictions within the political system, women activists irani and have utilised such small structural opportunities. Islamism, as a totalitarian state ideology, has resulted in a prevalent aversion toward any ideological absolutism among intellectuals, feminists included.

A pragmatic, social democratic or liberal democratic human rights framework has become the common denomination for collaboration and coalition building. Aside from some who still fight for an abstract utopian society based on certain ideologies, many tend to work for concrete changes toward improvement of the rights and living conditions of all citizens regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and ideological stand.

Most women activists have adopted non-confrontational, non-ideological, non-sectarian, and reform-oriented strategies. They engage the political reformers inside and outside the government, the intelligentsia, the media, the law and lawmakers in the parliament, the clerics, various social institutions, and ordinary people.

This engagement takes various forms and tactics, constructive criticisms within as well as outside of the framework of znaan existing laws and Iranj sharia toward revision, reinterpretation, and reform as well as deconstruction and subversion. Their desire to stay away from both elitism and populism and also keep moving ahead pragmatically in the face of continuous repression by the hard-liners has proved a most challenging task. It has maintained its homegrown roots and independence both despite and because of all the national and international pulls and eexi.

Many have hoped that with the latest successful nuclear deal between Sex and five plus one world powers, Iran will enter into a new era of reconciliation with the West, the end of zanan cold war in U. But, it is hard to keep the hope alive given the extremist trends evident in the zanaan U.

Original in English.

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The leadership did not respond but, for the first time since the revolution, did not silence the movement. In January the Iranian regime under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad closed the magazine down for "endangering the spiritual, mental and intellectual health of its readers, and threatening psychological security of the society" claiming it showed women in a "black light. In June , Zanan was relaunched by its original founder.

In September, , Sherkat was charged with publishing pictures of women "considered as objects" - a violation of the censorship laws. Iran's Press Oversight Committee stated that the magazine's content was "against public chastity, based on Article 6, Item 2 of the Press Law.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For Iranian women, see Women in Iran. For the village in Iran, see Zanan, Iran. Al Monitor. Retrieved 6 October Retrieved 21 September Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 May The Daily Beast. Retrieved 12 October Nieman Foundation. Retrieved 6 September Women, Religion and Culture in Iran.

Richard Tapper London: I. Tauris, : , In short, after the establishment of sharia -based rule of the Islamic Republic in Iran, women lost many rights in almost all spheres of life. In cases of bodily harm, certain body organs of a male person for example, his testicles are worth more than the whole body of a female person.

This emphasis on legal reform, however, does not make Iranian feminist orientation limited to liberal feminism only. Although at this stage of economic and political development in Iran, liberalism can be very relevant, what may seem liberal in the western democratic context can be perceived as quite radical in a repressive and retrogressive religious state.

As well-contextualised by one of the leading feminist activists in Iran, the classical western categorisation of Iranian feminists into liberal versus radical is false and misleading since it fails to account for the historical and specific situational conditions on the ground. The ruling conservative Islamists deny the existence of such a movement. Basing their arguments on some classic definitions and old theories of social movements, they point out that the current women activists lack a strong organisational structure capable of mobilising a vast number of the populace, generating serious conflicts with the state, and bringing about political changes.

But, their arguments seem unrealistic in light of the more recent public protests, networks of campaigns, and many arrests and conflicts between the women activists and the state organs. This involves deploying the power of presence , the assertion of collective will in spite of all odds, by refusing to exit, circumventing the constraints, and discovering new spaces of freedom to make oneself heard, seen, and felt.

The effective power of these practices lies precisely in their ordinariness. Asef Bayat, February. This history can be roughly divided into eight periods. This chronological division is somewhat similar to the one presented by Parvin Paidar in her seminal book Women and the Political Process in Twentieth-Century Iran First was the era of Constitutional Revolution and constitutionalism — , during which the first generation of women activists emerged mostly through their involvement in the pro-constitutional and anti-imperialist activities.

His son Mohammad Reza Shah , stopped enforcing mandatory unveiling, but that did not prevent the backlash of forced veiling under Khomeini and the Islamist state since Third , the era of nationalisation of the oil industry s—s brought more women into the public and political activism within both nationalist and socialist ideological and organisational frameworks. Fifth, the era of Islamist Revolution and Islamisation — associated with massive socio-political mobilisation of men and women, but soon followed with many retrogressive and discriminatory laws and policies against women and religious and ethnic minorities, forced hijab, sex segregation, war and violence, political repression, massive emigration and exile of intellectuals and ordinary people, and overall socio-economic decline.

But the growth of civil society organisations, the vibrant and relatively free press, including feminist press, and relative economic improvement did not last long. Another subject of discussion and debate among the feminist activists was related to the presidential elections.

Ahmadi Khorasani, Noushin. Among the presidential candidates, the only one that had sent some representatives to sit in the first seminar of this coalition and listen to their demands was Hassan Rouhani. Protection of women from state and domestic violence, respect for civil and human rights that can provide security for establishing women NGOs — in order to do educational, cultural and journalistic work toward promotion of egalitarian values and elimination of discriminatory laws and policies — were among the main demands.

They also wanted the presidential candidates to promise appointment of qualified and egalitarian ministers, including women ministers in their cabinet. This stress on setting clear criteria for appointment of ministers was in part a reaction to the tactical move Ahmadinejad had made in by unexpectedly appointing two women ministers to his cabinet in order to appease women since they had made up his primary opponents during the Green Movement.

Many activists however had dismissed his gesture as opportunistic, disingenuous, and at most too little too late. Rouhani won the election with a small margin.

Iran still continues to have one of the highest execution rates in the world. However, it remains to be seen how much Mowlaverdi can really achieve in the face of the relentless attacks on every progressive and egalitarian project she has tried to pursue so far. Despite intense repression at the state and societal levels, personality frictions, ideological divergence, and differences in strategy and tactics, Iranian gender activists have often converged in practice to collaborate over their common goals.

While the patriarchal system has tried to keep Iran internationally insulated, women are becoming increasingly more informed of the current trends within global feminisms and more transnationally engaged, especially with regard to the mechanisms, tools, and machineries created through the U. Although due to the vetting power of the conservative Guardian Council, the attempts made by the reformist deputies in the sixth Majlis to ratify CEDAW did not succeed, most women activists, including some Islamic as well as secular ones, have been framing their demands within the CEDAW framework.

The movement has a long way to go to reach various classes and ethnic or religious minorities among the wider populace in small towns, provinces, and rural areas. Systemic political and structural barriers too, have blocked the effectiveness of the otherwise hard and courageous struggles of women for equality and gender justice. The repressive, patriarchal, and authoritarian state in Iran has made it very difficult for Iranian feminists to utilise all these strategies effectively.

Yet whenever such spaces become available due to changes and contradictions within the political system, women activists can and have utilised such small structural opportunities. Islamism, as a totalitarian state ideology, has resulted in a prevalent aversion toward any ideological absolutism among intellectuals, feminists included.

A pragmatic, social democratic or liberal democratic human rights framework has become the common denomination for collaboration and coalition building.

zanan sexi irani

TEHRAN, June 28 - Over the past decade, Iran's best-selling fiction lists have become irani by women, an unprecedented development abetted by recent upheavals in Iranian society. The number of women who have published novels has reachedsaid Hassan Mirabedini, a scholar of Iranian literature, whose findings recently appeared in the magazine Zanan Women.

That is 13 times as many as a decade ago, the research showed, and is about equal to the number for men today. But the irani books are outselling the men's by far, thanks to simple -- some critics sexi simplistic -- language and compellingly personal narratives, often delving into once-taboo subjects like romance and sex.

While the average Iranian novel is issued in print runs of 5, copies, some women's books have enjoyed irani exceedingThough the election last week of the hard-line mayor of Tehran, Mahmoud Zanan, as president has raised fears of new social and cultural curbs in the Islamic Republic, some voiced doubts that such a campaign could succeed.

Mirabedini said in an interview. But he added: "It is hard to undermine literary work in a short period of time. It is rooted in deep cultural layers in society.

Zanan, Iranian women have become adept at maneuvering around the forbidden zones drawn by government and society. These novelists, like Iranian women in general, have always led more restricted lives than their zanan counterparts.

Traditionally, sexi was not considered irani for women to express their feelings and desires in writing. From the 's into the 60's, there were only about a dozen sexi writing novels, and many used pseudonyms. The energy of literate women then was more focused on establishing basic rights, like suffrage. By the 's, an increasing number of women were earning university degrees and enjoying the zanan independence that came from working outside the home.

The oil boom further raised incomes and encouraged travel abroad, allowing Iranian women to compare their lives with those of women in sexi countries.

The Islamic revolution, however, was a turning point for Iranian women across the spectrum. Better educated and Westernized women were marginalized irani the new Islamic government and forced out of public sector jobs. Many turned to self-employment, often as private tutors, translators or writers.

More traditional women, on the other hand, who had been restricted zanan male relatives from working outside the home, were encouraged to assume public responsibilities in the new theocratic environment. The war with Iraq accelerated the trend of women taking more control irani their own lives, as hundreds of thousands of men left their families to fight at the front. Eventually, after the war, they found the courage to write about their experiences.

The novel, set in the 's, tells the story of a woman who defies her aristocratic family to marry a carpenter. But he turns out to be abusive; she leaves him, irani radical act at the time, and marries someone else. Though the pioneers of women's fiction in the early 20th century tended to be well educated and from elite families, many of today's successful novelists had a fairly traditional upbringing.

They are primarily homemakers who write between their daily zanan and draw heavily on their experiences. For instance, Fariba Vafi, 43, whose novel "My Bird" won three major Iranian awards innever attended college. As a young girl, however, she traveled to Tehran from her hometown of Tabriz, miles away, every two months to buy books and show her writings to a literature teacher.

Marriage and children delayed her plan to become a novelist. Her inspirations include the year she spent in a police training course after sexi revolution. In "Tarlan," named for the main character, she describes women from poor families who enter the harsh environment of the police school. The book arouses readers' sympathy for policewomen who must enforce the strict social code of Islam and who are widely resented in Sexi for harassing women who deviate from Muslim dress rules.

In Iran, such work is dominated by men. Outside the office, Arezou struggles to satisfy her mother and daughter, shallow characters preoccupied zanan shopping and entertainment.

Her one comfort is Shirin, a friend sexi colleague at the agency. Both women are independent irani wary of men.

But then Arezou falls in love with a client, over the objections of her mother, daughter and even Shirin.

Arezou is emblematic of middle-aged women in Iran, caught between sexi and modernity. She has rejected prejudices zanan a woman working in what is seen as a man's job, and left her husband. But her weaknesses become apparent when she yields to society's bias against a middle-aged woman's remarriage; she believes she has no choice but to continue caring for her daughter.

The women writing these novels must cope with two kinds of censors: the government and their families. Censors at the Ministry zanan Culture and Islamic Guidance, which zanan approve every book before it can be sexi, ban any explicit mention of sex.

They ask for sexi removal of words like "nudity" and "bosom," even if these appear in metaphors and do not refer to the human body. Haj Seyed Javadi informs readers that two characters in "Drunkard Morning" have a sexual relationship. The readers of Ms. Another constraint for writers is the potential irani of relatives.

Until recently, it was unusual for women to write about themselves, their experiences or their feelings. Now they often pattern their characters on people around them. Vafi, author irani "My Bird. Gradually, I have become stronger. Log In.

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Shahla Sherkat (born March 30, ) is a journalist, prominent Persian feminist author, and one of the pioneers of Women's rights movement in Iran. Shahla Sherkat is founder and publisher of Zanan magazine (zanan means "women"), which focuses on the concerns of Iranian women its edgy coverage of everything from reform politics to domestic abuse to sex. Sex differences in achievement/career motivation of Iranian boys and girls. Authors; Authors . Degargonihaye ejtemaii-eghtesadi zanan Iran. Socioeconomic.

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