IMAG­INE BE­ING AR­RESTED FOR WEAR­ING TOO MUCH MAKE-UP!

Think a woman’s fash­ion and beauty choices are her own dis­cre­tion? Not in Iran, where bold lip­stick or toe pol­ish could land you in jail!

Cosmopolitan (India) - - ONLY IN COSMO - By Priyam Chaturvedi

Afew months ago, Mana Davodi, 32, was ar­rested for ‘dis­turb­ing mo­ral val­ues’. Her crime? Hav­ing painted toe­nails and not wear­ing socks. “I felt aw­ful and pan­icked, filled with anger,” she said in an in­ter­view with UK-based mag­a­zine, Look. “It’s ha­rass­ment of an in­di­vid­ual’s free­dom and be­liefs.”

Mana’s shock­ing story is hardly

I FELT DIS­RE­SPECTED AND IN­SULTED. I’M A GROWN WOMAN. I CAN DE­CIDE WHAT I CAN WEAR.

un­com­mon in Iran. As per the Basij, Iran’s ‘moral­ity po­lice’, you could be fined, ar­rested and even put be­hind bars for wear­ing as much as a bright lip­stick or more eye­liner than usual. Un­be­lie­ve­able, but a truth Ira­nian women deal with on a daily ba­sis.

Dur­ing the reign of West­ern- backed Shah Mo­ham­mad Reza Pahlavi, women could pretty much wear what­ever they liked (in­clud­ing swim­suits and short dresses). But af­ter the 1979 Is­lamic Rev­o­lu­tion, wear­ing the hi­jab (head­scarf) be­came com­pul­sory for Ira­nian women. Wear­ing boots with short pants,

hats or scarves which do not fully cover hair and neck, and putting on un­usual make-up that con­tra­dicts pub­lic chastity be­came for­bid­den. Is­lamic re­li­gious es­tab­lish­ments con­sider make-up to be con­trary to hi­jab, which is in place so women are not viewed as sex ob­jects. In De­cem­ber 2009, women were banned from wear­ing make-up on TV. Ez­za­tol­lah Zarghami, the me­dia cor­po­ra­tion in charge of con­trol­ling Ira­nian tele­vi­sion broad­cast­ing, was quoted by news­pa­pers as say­ing that “make-up by women dur­ing tele­vi­sion pro­grammes is il­le­gal and against Is­lamic sharia law. There should not be a sin­gle case of a woman wear­ing make-up dur­ing a pro­gramme.”

The Basij tar­get and roam places like malls, where they’re on a look out for women wear­ing too much make-up, bright clothes, trousers, short coats, or hi­jabs that don’t cover their hair com­pletely. Th­ese women are then taken away, ques­tioned, fined or even sen­tenced to prison upto two months. In an in­ter­view with wash­ing­ton­post.com, 30-yearold Sa­har said, “I felt dis­re­spected and in­sulted. I’m a grown woman. I can de­cide what I can wear. I can make th­ese de­ci­sions my­self.” Sa­har was ar­rested for wear­ing sleeves that went only to her fore­arms and didn’t cover her arms prop­erly. Oth­ers have been ar­rested—and beaten—for not wear­ing socks or let­ting their hair show from un­der their scarf.

Things get worse in sum­mer (when women are more likely to fal­ter), and thou­sands of ‘mo­ral po­lice of­fi­cers’ are em­ployed to roam the streets and ar­rest those wear­ing ‘un-Is­lamic dress’. Ac­cord­ing to Tehran’s state me­dia report, last year “53 cof­fee shops and 87 restau­rants were shut down in Tehran for serv­ing cus­tomers with im­proper hi­jab or for other gen­der-re­lated of­fenses, such as per­mit­ting women to smoke hookah pipes.” The report said: “Nearly 80 stands at an in­ter­na­tional food fair were closed in June 2012

80 STANDS AT A FOOD FAIR WERE CLOSED AS THE WOMEN THERE WERE WEAR­ING TOO

MUCH MAKE-UP!

be­cause the women work­ing at them were ei­ther break­ing hi­jab rules or were wear­ing too much make-up.”

Iron­i­cally, de­spite re­stric­tions, Ira­nian women are among the world’s top 10 cos­metic buy­ers (most cos­met­ics avail­able have been il­le­gally im­ported). Iran has also been named among the lead­ing ‘nose-job cap­i­tals’ in the world. Ex­perts say th­ese trends may have to do with Iran’s rich Per­sian cul­ture and em­pha­sis on beauty, art, and aes­thet­ics. But it can­not be ig­nored that many young women are also chal­leng­ing rules. The proof may lie in re­cent fig­ures re­leased by the Ira­nian po­lice, which found that a whop­ping 80 per­cent of all the women ar­rested for ‘bad he­jabi’ (or be­ing im­prop­erly dressed) are un­der 15, mak­ing it clear that the young Ira­nian girl is push­ing for her right to do—and look—as she pleases.

In Iran, at­tract­ing at­ten­tion to your­self is frowned upon by

au­thor­i­ties

Make-up is big busi­ness in Iran

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.