When most people visualize their dream vacation, Caribbean beaches and margaritas on a lounge chair come to mind. For British writer and cyclist Lois Pryce, however, her dream trip equated to something a little different — a solo motorcycle trip across Iran. Pryce spent this September on a three-week tour of the country, her curiosity fueled by the conflicting advice she’d heard about traveling there. “On the one hand I’d hear awful things about women being stoned for adultery, the highest rate of execution in the world, and nuclear enriching,” she told the UK’s Telegraph. “Then overland travelers would say Iran was wonderful and their favorite country, and that difference intrigued me.” Keep reading »
Nina Siahkali Moradi won an alternate seat in Qazvin, Iran city council elections fair and square. But male colleagues agree she’s “too attractive” to join them and have disqualified her from her clear winnings.
Moradi placed 14th out of 163 candidates in the elections, with almost 10,000 people voting for her. But the 27-year-old has been disqualified because members of the council think she has nothing more to offer than her youth and beauty and according to one senior official in Qazvin, they “don’t want a catwalk model on the council.” Keep reading »
Imagine being an athlete at the top of your field and not being recognized by the authorities for your accomplishments simply because you are a woman. This is the problem faced by Elham Asghari, a 32-year-old swimmer in Iran, who isn’t having her records recorded by the country’s sports ministry. In fact, just last month, Iran refused to acknowledge Asghari’s recent 20 kilometer swim in the Caspian Sea. Why? Because when she emerged from the water after the swim on a women-only beach, her figure was still “visible” underneath her six kilos-worth of body-covering swimsuit paraphernalia. Keep reading »
As I am getting ready to leave for the doctor’s office, Auntie Shadi gives me a warning: “Now don’t expect to be seen exactly on time. This is not America.”
“Oh. Ok,” I say, instead of admitting that we don’t necessarily get seen exactly on time for our doctor’s appointment either. During this one-month stay in Iran I have learned to choose my battles with misconceptions. I only correct the important ones, like the one where they assume that anyone who lives in America has lots of money without working.
Since I had left a lucrative career as an oral surgeon to become a writer, money was tight and most of my activities were on hold. When dad invited me to Iran on an all-expense-paid trip, I gladly accepted. As most everything is cheaper in Iran, I decided to get some of my annual medical exams out of the way, too. My father takes a particular pleasure in going to the doctor. It’s his fear of hospitals that makes him so diligent in preventative care to the point that when he runs out of things to do, he just pops in for some blood work. So, hearing about my interest in seeing a doctor (any doctor, really) was good news. He secretly wanted to show off the excellence in Iran’s medical care.
A routine check up at the OB/GYN could not be that complicated, I reasoned. Besides, nowhere in the United States does a specialist visit cost $16. Keep reading »
Update, 5:15p.m.: Chicago Public Schools have rescinded the order to yank Persepolis from the shelves. This is great news! [Chicago Tribune]
Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, is one of the best series of graphic novels that I have ever read. I recommend it to everyone. And I read a lot of graphic novels. The memoirs recount Satrapi’s childhood in Iran following the Islamic Revolution and the increasing strictures on the life of an artsy young woman who is increasingly at odds with the fundamentalist Muslim religious police.
It’s touching, inspiring, and educational — and I’m far from the first person to point out that graphic novels are a great way to get young adults who don’t love to read to engage with literature.
So why, then, have the books been pulled out of Chicago Public Schools? Keep reading »
This coming academic year, 36 universities in Iran have announced that 77 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences courses will now be “single gender” and therefore only available to men. With women outnumbering men by three to two in passing this year’s university entrance exam, The Daily Beast theorizes Iranian leaders are becoming “concerned about the social side-effects of rising educational standards among women” — as in, women are becoming too educated at the (scare quotes!) “expense” of men.
This is scary stuff. Keep reading »
The “Jersey Shore” knockoffs are here! “The Shahs Of Sunset,” a new reality show about Iranian-Americans in Los Angeles, will be developed by Bravo and Ryan Seacrest’s production company, they jointly announced Wednesday. L.A. has the largest Persian community outside of Iran and their per capita income is 50 percent higher than the national average, according to the blog ColorLines. “The Persian-American community in Los Angeles is a perfect fit for Bravo’s next great docu-series. The group of friends featured in our show are colorful, affluent, and fun,” Bravo’s Andy Cohen said in a statement. Keep reading »
Women in Iran are already banned from watching soccer matches in stadiums, and pending government approval, Iranian women may soon be banned from watching soccer games aired live in movie theaters because it increases the likelihood of “inappropriate behavior,” i.e. sexy-sexy-time. A state police agency called for the ban, which will restrict women from congregating in mixed-gender theaters in major cities to watch the games, as is popular in Iran. Frankly, I’m surprised that women were even watching soccer matches alongside men in the first place, given how intermingling of the sexes is verboten. We hope that if the ban goes through, women are given their own movie theaters in which to watch games. Anything else would be sexism, pure and simple. But considering Iran already has a crap record for women’s rights, I’m not counting on it. [CNN] Keep reading »