“Khanum [Ma’am], Iranian men do whatever their wives want.” (There is probably a better translation for this that includes the word “whipped”)
“Exactly,” my husband agrees.
In my travels around Iran, many of the men I have met from all sorts of socio-economic backgrounds have expressed a kind of admiration for the tough Iranian woman. It’s kind of a new twist on machismo: “My woman is the boss. She is tough. I do everything she says.” I am not sure where it comes from but a friend of mine whose mother came to Iran from Russia tells me that her mother always said, “Marry an Iranian man. Don’t even dream of marrying a Russian. Iranian men love their wives. Russians go crazy with jealousy.”
(Iranian women are fond of denigrating their men as in: “Never marry an Iranian man.” I am not sure how deep that feeling goes. Any thoughts?)
The Iranian women I know and meet are indeed tough. I stand in awe of these outgoing, outspoken women. I know very little about the case of the 33 feminist activists who were arrested, but I, like others, am awestruck by their courage and will.
It’s ironic to me that a revolution that was inspired in part by the ideas of Karl Popper, who believed in a self-critical society, would be so unwilling to tolerate peaceful protest and the criticism of citizens who only want Iran to become a better place.