Monday, May 07, 2007

Too Sexy For Her Veil?

One of the chapters in Azadeh Moaveni's memoir Lipstick Jihad (2005) is titled "I'm Too Sexy For My Veil," and she's not kidding. The book is enlightening about Iranian cultural complexities, and some of it's surprising. Young people in Tehran and in other places Moaveni travels to (she was a Time correspondent living in the Middle East) are as fashion and sex-obsessed as Americans, but with some twists. Because women have restrictions on how they appear in public, they focus on their faces. Trying to avoid beatings by the Basij is a daily routine. The Basij, or Mobilized Resistance Force, a para-military ring used to crack down on dissidents, keep order, and keep people in proper Islamic footing, is sometimes nicknamed the morality police. But under the veils, anything is possible.

In fact, even some of the Basij women have fashion sense. Take the picture above, for instance. She's a member of the defenders of strict Islamic dress and behavior codes, and has her hands begloved, head covered, and no doubt her feet and legs are covered, too. But there's style regardless: she seems to be wearing lip stick or lip gloss, and certainly has worked carefully on her eyebrows. They must be waxed or touched up, right? And besides, who doesn't like the look of a woman carrying an AK-47?

Today's Rune: The Blank Rune.

Birthdays: Olympe de Gouges (b. Marie Gouze), Robert Browning, Johannes Brahms, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Gary Cooper, Evita (Maria Eva Duarte de Perón), Darren McGavin (b. William Lyle Richardson), Anne Baxter, "Johnny" Unitas, Thelma Houston, Amy Heckerling.


t said...

I found that Yemeni women are excellent at eye make-up, and yes, there are various fashions in the black abaya (the external robe they wear), and no shortage of sex-appeal and "naughtiness" in their own style.

I saw a few very good films recently, I highly recommend The Yacoubian Building (I hear the novel's awesome too).

Johnny Yen said...

We get a lot of female cops in the restaurant, and I have to admit, there's something pretty sexy about a woman who's packin'...

the walking man said...

Probably why she joined the morality police; so she wouldn't get pummeled for being stylishly faced up. If there is a more overall misogynistic group of cultures anywhere on earth than the middle east i certainly don't know of or have never heard of them. Except for Saddam's Iraq, secular and more even handed in the treatment of women.

Danny Tagalog said...

Yes, I agree with Mr. Yen.

And I like the wrapped up look - heightens anticipation perhaps?

Erik Donald France said...

Well, strangely, I guess we're all in agreement. Thanks for the comments and insights.

Tosin, I'll have to track down your titles -- and look forward to watching them.

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