THE DUAL SOCIETY- Analysis of the Iranian case about gender roles and statuses

by Albanita_Cokaj on November 4, 2014 - 7:14am

The Iranian case is one of the most subject studies about gender roles, which is a complex issue in the in contemporary Iranian society. Women have always had a strong role in Iranian life, but rarely a public role. There are limited social opportunities for women in such political, cultural and religious context to construct an identity, at least their own ones.                                                                                                                                                                                In Iran, the alliance of these three elements- patriarchy , Islam and state- has intensified women’s oppression and discrimination, but it has also exposed the state structure and the cultural  hegemony of this country. This kind of situation has created a sort of dual society, one existing publicly in a conventional social form, and the other one behind the doors of the safe private life, according to a contradictory behavioral code.

The concept of a dual society , can be fully  analyze and understand only when it’s possible to outline some of the most important aspects that characterize the controversial culture of Iran. First of all, the main aspect on which the world focuses is the question of the female clothes. At home women can be dressed as they wish , no restricts rules. But rules, outside, change. In the Islamic culture imposing the hijab, is directly connecting with the mean to create uniformity. But is not this uniformity destroying also the individuality of the women ? Uniformity does not always allows equity.                                                                                                      The difficulty of the Islamic republic in allowing women complete equality in employment and public activity turns around religious questions of female modesty that is obviously related with public life. Professions requiring physical exertion outdoors are excluded, as are most public entertainment roles. On the other hand, it’s interesting how film and television are open to women , but they are provided to them if they observe modest dress standards.  Another controversial topic, that allows to try to understand Iranian culture, concerns the emotional roles. Iranian men and women are different from those in Us or other many Western countries, since it’s considered manly for men to be emotionally sensitive then women. By contrast, women can be emotionally distant and detached.

In the movie The circle, by Jafar Panahi, an Iranian director, who tries to describe how patriarchy, religion, and custom have caused a notable curtailment of women's rights in the Iranian society. All the segments of the movie are incomplete in themselves, but by the end the circle is formed. No questions are answered, only posed: “who are the real criminals ?”                                                                                                                         The Iranian case is really one of the most interesting topic about gender roles, so probably the first and last reflection, that comes in mind about this case, can only be :                                                                                             How has Islamic gender ideals have shaped the actual gender relations In Iran ?

Visibly, since 1979 in Iran, there has been a drastic reduction in women’s personal, political, cultural, legal, and social rights. Islamic law has re-established polygamy, reduced women’s ability to possess their own property, to divorce or gain custody of their children, and enforced the wearing of the Islamic hijab. The ruling Islamic ideology and its ideals has deconstructed the existing culture in Iran, and it has constructed a new order through religious laws.