Friday, November 29, 2002

The Black World Today:
Barbie In Iran -- Has The Revolution Become Skin Deep?
By Shahla Aziz

"...Women's struggle here, of course, is different from the West. As you strive to be considered a full witness in court and have the right to travel without your husband's permission, for instance, the influence of Barbie on the young female mind becomes a secondary issue. Here, Barbie is the symbol of a woman from a place that gives her equal rights and considers her a full human being -- even if she is anorexic.

In this land that claims that one of the benefits of hejab (Islamic covering for women) is to lessen women's competitive and excessive preoccupation with appearances, the way a woman looks is everything. With more than 20 percent unemployment and lack of real opportunity for women, the only way to assure any kind of upward mobility is still a good marriage.

Only now, a good marriage is considered to be one with someone who holds a Western passport, preferably from the United States -- an exit to a better life..."

"...Young women push the limits of the imposed hejab. The uniform Roopoosh, a coat that covers the body, is now shorter and tighter than ever. It comes in every color, from aubergine to bright pink. The head cover, meant to conceal all the hair (considered by the religious authorities to be a huge turn-on), comes halfway down the head in a state of perpetual suspension. Women use heavy makeup, with eyeliners that accentuate the eyes to the point of making them unavoidable, and lip-glosses that make everyone's lips like Brigitte Bardot's..."

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