Iranian Women in the Global Mirror: A Study on How the Media Representation of "Real" Can Change the Reality.

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 18:06
Oral Presentation
Sara NADERI, University of Victoria, Canada
Since the 1979 Revolution, the Islamic concepts of women rights and identity in Iran have been defined in sharp contrast with western feminist ideas of gender equality and equal rights. Supported by the Islamic government’s rules and media, this new “Iranian Muslim Women’s identity” emerged as one of the most important symbols of the new, collective Iranian national and religious identity. This image of “Iranian women’s Islamic identity” as the landmark of the new political discourse has dominated western media and promoted as one of the main sign of resistance or adherence of Iranian society to the hegemonic Islamic state discourse.

In this paper, I aim at studying the influence of the binary image of Islamic against western values on women situation in Iran. I am going to historically trace changes of the portrayal of Iranian women’s rights in western media since 1979 up to now. Simultaneously, I will probe the changes in Islamic state’s policies and their influence on Iranian women’s rights debates at the same period. In this respect, I will go through the public speeches of religious and political elites and their influential policies regarding women to see how these policies have changed over the time and if these changes were influenced by western media’s image of Iranian women or not. Thus, in this paper, I will investigate the changes in the representation of Iranian women situations on western media on the one hand, and the influence of this Western portrayal of Iranian women on the internal debates of women’s rights in Iran, on the other hand. In brief, I am going to see how the real situation of women in Iran has been influenced by the media image of that reality.