Check out these Iranian policewomen:
On one hand, these women are pretty badass. On the other, they’re police officers for an authoritarian government in a country rife with human rights violations. So while I think it’s fantastic that these women are working (especially in a traditionally male-dominated occupation) and that this video challenges all kinds of stereotypes about passive women in chadors (or hijabs or burkas or other religious coverings), I wish they were doing it for a better cause. Then again, you work with what you’ve got, so I certainly can’t fault them.
Also interesting is the fact that policewomen in Iran are active members of the “fashion police” — the people who chastise, harass or even arrest women who aren’t sufficiently covered. It’s always depressing to see women promoting the oppression of other women, but so it goes.
When one woman, Nazanin, 28, was stopped last month in Vanak Square, she thought she had dressed more modestly than usual, she said. But she was told that her coat was tight and showed the shape of her body.
“I just joked with them and tried to stay calm, but they told me to sit so that they could see how far my pants would pull up in a sitting position,” said Nazanin, a reporter. She was told by the police officers that they wanted to help her look modest so men would not look at her and cause her inconvenience, she said.
She received a warning about her large sunglasses, her coat, her eyeliner and her socks, which the police officers said should be longer. She was allowed to go after she signed a letter, which included her name and address, saying she would not appear in public like that again. The police have said the letters will be used against violators in court if they defy the rules a second time.
If too-short socks are causing men to “inconvenience” her, perhaps we should deal with the men and tell them to get the hell over it — or recognize that the more we force women to cover, the more any exposed bit of skin will be a “temptation.” But considering that blaming women’s dress for (among various other things) inciting men to sin seems to be something of an international asshole pastime, I don’t have high hopes for this changing anytime soon.
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