Lipstick Jihad: An Interview With Azadeh Moaveni
Yes, I think this is the biggest difference between the US and Iran -- how honesty is interpreted. American culture is incredibly forthright. There’s this premium on telling it like it is and being frank. Iranian culture, and Farsi, the language, is really evasive; it has all these rituals and cues and formalities in how people deal with one another.
I think evasiveness took on a whole new meaning after the revolution. You suddenly had Islamic conservative values governing how society was run, which pushed a lot of things behind closed doors and under veils and chadors. Private behavior became much more weighted.
I write in the book about eroticization. It’s not explicit, ever, but the emphasis on covering and the hidden and forbidden was sexualizing because everyone was very preoccupied with that. Nothing about how you conduct your private life is at all apparent from the way you look to everyone else. Evasiveness, privacy and eroticization all came together in the post-revolutionary culture.