Nine Parts of Desire
Adriana Gonzalez
-American media not allowed in Iran after U.S. Embassy
occupation in 1979
-Khomeini convinced women that the concealing cloak
was an act of revolution, causing them to risk their lives facing
shah’s army for a return of laws that allowed child marriage,
polygamy and wife beating
-1967: Egypt loses to Israel in Six-Day War (blamed
secularism of government)> veiled women increase
-Iran’s theocratic revolution: hijab becomes political as
well as religious act (1935)> Reza Shah banned chador (wanted
modern country)
• -Islam encourages wives to be beautiful for their husbands
-Wives remove body hair every 20 days, men every 40 days
-Women dye their hair for their husbands
-Iran threatened eighty-lash penalty for women, even foreigners,
who flouted the Islamic dress code. Along with hair, all skin except face
and hands and all curves of the body had to be concealed.
-Since the revolution, only men are allowed to swim in public
-No alcohol
-Party dress for women consisted of chadors, long pants, socks, calflength tunics, magnehs
-hijab interpreted differently across countries
-Women, if following sunnah, can only show body parts including,
curves, ankles, wrists, neck, shoulders all be concealed from men except
her husband and men she is forbade form marrying according to the Koran
(father, brothers, father-in-law, nephews, sons, stepsons, pre-pubescent
boys, or male adolescents that ‘lack vigor’)
Salwar kameezPakistan
Chadris- Afghanistan
Stiff, birdlike masks of
black and gold- dubai
Head scarves- Egypt/
360 degrees black
cloaks- Saudi Arabia
• -chadors= big black squares of fabric tossed over the head and
falling to the ankles
-ayatollah=”relfection of God”, applied to the most learned of
the Shiite clergy
-Sunni Muslims= majority of early Muslims who agreed, after
Muhammad’s death, that their leader should be appointed by
consensus of elders, as was tradition
-Shiites Muslims= minority of Muslims that felt that
Muhammad’s successor should come from within his own family
(son-in-law/ cousin Ali)
-Origins as dissenters give Shiites an obligation to
question those in power, and revolt against them if necessary
-Origins also lie in defeat of Ali and his sons: leads to
profound identification of Shiites with the beaten and poor
Terms, ConT’d
• -magneh=hood made of a circle of fabric like a nun’s
wimple that falls over head and shoulder, leaving just a
hole for the face
-hijab= “curtain”, used in the Koran as n instruction
to believers of Muhammad’s day on how they should
deal with the prophet’s wives: “If you ask his vices for
anything, speak to them from behind a curtain. This is
purer for your hearts and their hearts”
-sunnah= “the trodden path” of Muhammadthose things which he had said, done or permitted to
be done in his presence (informs “that which is
apparent” includes ankles, wrists, neck)
• -“Why do you wear a heavy veil when a simple scarf would do?” (17)
-“(I’d been running to board a helicopter to get to Khomeini’s
graveside, and the gust form the rotor had momentarily blown the
chador aside, revealing my trousers and shirt beneath. ‘Cover
yourself!’ the official yelled, his face full of loathing.)” (17)
-“You know, of course, that there are two kinds of IslamAmerican Islam and Muhammad’s Islam- and in Turkey we have
American Islam. In American Islam, religion is separated from politics,
because it suits the superpower interests. Our government is very
much afraid of Islamic revolution, because it wants to grovel to the
West” (19).
-“Tel the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest,
and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to
draw their veils over their bosoms” (21)
-“Part of the philosophy of Islamic dress is for a woman to project
an aura of calm and tranquility” (23).
Relating to Diversity
-In both cases, women are expected to sacrifice their comfort and freedom to
service the requirements of male sexuality; either to repress or to stimulate
the male sex urge
– This form of diversity is completely detrimental to one group of people
(out-group, women) at the expense of another. This is a form of a parasitic
relationship, which can lead to power struggle and multiple injustices
– Equality may not be in the forebrain of many women traditionally
obedient to the Koran (patriarchal society), but respect is a must
-“I asked Hamideh if Khomeini could ever be wrong in a religious ruling.
“For sure,” she said. “We don’t believe any human being is infallible. But if I
follow his fatwa, and it’s wrong- say I kill someone he orders me to, and the
person is innocent- the person I killed will go to paradise, and the sin of the
killing is on the one who is issued the fatwa, not on me” (26)
– -This form of diversity places blame on one leading party, omitting the
flaws of his/her followers. No responsibility needs to be taken by
followers, other than abiding by their leader’s laws- this will inevitably
cause a state of conflict between different sects and amongst other
• -Chador was “trench” against Western values (26).
– Covering themselves with veils and adhering to traditional ritual may be a
source of community within Middle Eastern countries as a stand against
Western influence. Diversity is cherished in this sense, and homogeny
-“Of course, I don’t like anyone to insult my father, but he was always
ready to forgive anything aimed at him personally. It was attacks on Islam
that he couldn’t forgive” (30).
– -Diversity in the understanding of particular actions. It was not acceptable to
break Islamic rule- the father would commit heinous crimes against such
perpetrators. But as a person, he forgave on the regular. Different
circumstances result in a diverse list of acceptable actions in such a culture
-Men required by Koran to cover from naval to knee- very often
broken (example of men’s soccer games)
– Diversity amongst rules that are so strictly adhered to by females. Males are
obviously the controlling, top-down force here, with their ability to place
females in a position of concealment or shame is solely for their own sexual
purposes (desire and refrain struggling within them). Responsibility is then
placed completely in the hands of the female in terms of the male’s sexual
urges- a requirement that is completely unfair.