Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hejab crackdown...

“The news is reporting that 93% of the population approves of the crackdown on hejab,” our cab driver told us.

“If that is true, there is no need to enforce hejab,” I responded.

“Don’t the women have mothers? Fathers? Brothers? Sisters? What business is it of the government,” the driver added. “On my wedding day, my wife asked me: What is your opinion of hejab? I said, What you wear is your business. All I want is your heart. If your heart is mine then you can wear whatever you want. If your heart is not mine, then wearing ten chadors won’t make a difference.”

The traffic on Jordan was, as usual, crawling. Since yesterday afternoon flocks of smiling religious police added to the traffic slowdown by standing on the street peering into each car that passed by. Above each checkpoint, another flock stood with a minibus and young women that they have pulled over for bad hejab.

And it isn’t just hejab, as my next post will tell you.

Pictures of Iranian women in hijab here.

13 comments:

VinceP1974 said...

I liked what the cab driver said about wife. Very romanitc.

Does Iran have a tradition of forced / arranged marriage like the Arabs have?

Anonymous said...

As a Persian,

Often times westerners like you look others from above and say:
Do you have this too?

Well, let me tell you that we all come from the same bloody social habits and background.

You want to know more about marriages, just check these entries (not yet complete) in Wikipedia :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forced_marriage

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arranged_marriage

Although these are probably written by a westerner who has omitted to say that even in the upper class western societies arranged marriages forced by the instinct of conservation to keep their social status, are still very common.
Check out the rotary clubs and other societies alike...

Also most religious groups favor these kind of marriages (regardless of the religion).

So I would say that if one could do some statistics with genuine data on the marriages around the world, the majority of the marriages fall into one of these two categories.

And Iran is no exception to the rest of the world.

Forced marriages I don't think so (except if you consider the pressure of the society to get married which is as present in the east as it is in the west).

But trying to make people meet and pressure them to decide in a short time without having sexual intercourse, is certainly part of the tradition. Although today’s acquaintances which may lead to marriage are certainly done through many ways such as the internet, university, family, friends and more… like in the west.
Sorry to disappoint you.

VinceP1974 said...

I meant no insult with the question. My impression is that Persians don't do the arranged marrage thing , but I wasn't sure, which is why I asked.

I dont look down on anyone. I was curious. And I wouldnt have trusted Wikipedia to tell me the truth.

I'm afraid your diatribe didn't really answer my question, or the answer is lost in the indigination.

danielspengies said...

Arranged marriages exist throughout the world, and are in no way a "bad" thing. If I remember correctly, there have been studies showing that arranged marriage couples actually have "deeper" and more meaningful love than those who married through modern means. The reason? Many times people around us can read our behavior better than we can, since they are seeing from an outside perspective. So those who help to arrange marriages often do so through knowing the person very deeply, and selecting the mate accordingly. It's not always this way of course, and I don't know much about FORCED marriages, but that's my two-cents on arranged marriage.

Just remember, Vincep, or anyone else for that matter, our form of social dating and marriage is a very very new thing. It has not been in existence throughout most of the world traditionally.

ET said...

Most Persians (I use that term on purpose to refer to the ethnic group, not the nationality) would be surprised to find out that forced marriage does indeed exist in Iran. I talked with an Iranian anthropologist who told me about the high rates of suicide among some of the people of Ilam and Lorestan who are forced into marriage. This exists among both the young women and the the young men. (More so amonf the women who choose to set themselves on fire) I do not know enough about it to write about it here. But I have heard about it from both the anthropoligist who studied at and a doctor who treated some of those who survived their suicide attempts.

Jimmy said...

It looks like some women in the picture are dressed more conservatively than others.

How politicized is the hijab? Can you tell whether a woman supports the government by how conservatively she dresses?

According to the AP, Iran is also crracking down on "men sporting clothes deemed too tight or hairstyles deemed too extravagant".

Has anyone seen this happening?

ET said...

Jimmy, You cannot tell much of anything about a woman's politics by her dress. It's complicated. Flouting dress codes usually means you have enough money to pay the fine for doing so. It may not mean much else. Women in all types of clothing have all types of opinions.

christopher said...

vince
thanks for the question. that was interesting.

in india, i would say that 90% of the marriages are arranged to one degree or another. (anywhere from the parents doing the deal while the kids are still minors to arrangments where the kids can hold veto power over the parents choice.) and i've met many indians who can speak quite eloquently about the virtues of arranged marriages. usually citing the responsibilities that are required of both partners to the union. and the stability of the family unit. and these can be very educated and modern people.

so the existence of arranged marriages isn't necessarily a hallmark of backwardness. just a cultural differentness. so i don't think that it is a cultural slur of any kind to ask about it.

and i've always wondered, how do people in muslim countries ever meet and fall in love and test it out before marriage? heck, i think it's tough in the usa.

danielspengies said...

In comparison to the US version of dating and marriage, arrange marriages would probably be considered a superior alternative.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous Persian: very cool, refering Vince to incomplete Wiki entries "probably written by a westerner" should teach him not to try asking real people with real knowledge. Poor fool probably thinks blogs are about communicating or some nonsense like that.

Daniel: "people around us can read our behavior better than we can." Okay, so I assume your family choose for you not only your wife, but also your school, your job, your clothes, etc.?

ET: you are correct. Google "suicide by self immolation"


Grumpy

Anonymous said...

Grumpy Dumpy,

If you know what Wikipedia is (an encyclopedia) you know that the address I wrote will be sufficient to get there and use the search function to find out about whatever topic you want. And the web addresses are not that incomplete if you can read English.
And the reason why I referred him to an encyclopedia is that it comes not from an Iranian but most probably from someone like him.
Besides, even though I referred to Wiki , I did answer his question. Bringing forth such points shows a lack of valid arguments from your part in addressing the question and your intellectual dishonesty.

danielspengies said...

I'm just citing the conclusions from anthropological and psychological research grumpy. It is indeed true that those with arranged marriages often have a "deeper love" than those who were married the "American way." That is basically the idea as to WHY they would be more compatible, and their love with be deeper.

And I SHOULD have others choose my school, clothes, etc. I have no taste in anything. But I don't know where that even comes from, since, as far as I know, since we were talking about arranged marriages in other cultures. I have an American marriage which wasn't arrange, but that doesn't mean other forms of marriages are invalid.

David Mohammad Yaghoobi said...

Like Shepard's they were herding in the cars one-by-one in Jordan the other night. A couple of white vans stop in wait with maybe 20-police. As I passed it any female driver was pulled over.

I was also passing Vanak where I saw photographers, camera crew and a large bus with police waiting around. I wonder I slowed down anticipating a senior figure to be nearby visiting maybe. When passing the next time with friends there was the same set-up. "That bus has only one station to go to - prison!", he laughed.

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