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Cinematic Portrayal of Iranian Women - Essay Example

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There has been immense amount of debate and discussion when it comes to the social status of women in the Iranian society. The substance of this prose will examine the social status of women on a religious and cultural front, but this status will be largely observed through the internationally acclaimed cinema of Iran…
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Cinematic Portrayal of Iranian Women
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Download file to see previous pages The role of women in the Iranian society has greatly evolved and this evolution is easily noticeable through the significant number of changes that precipitated in the cinematic portrayal. Women all over the world have experienced immense amount of social pressures and obligations, in short simple words the plight of women has been the subject of countless literature and cinematic pieces. Iran is a highly patriarchal society since its emergence as a powerful empire to its establishment as an Islamic republic, a woman’s sole responsibility was to serve her husband and look after his well-being. Before the cinema had gained immense popularity, many literatures focused on the characteristics of a good woman and a bad woman and how a man’s fate depends on the character of his wife. (Donmez-Colin, 2004, p.155-170) Therefore, authors and poets seemed to hold the woman responsible for any sort of mishap that would befall her husband. The patriarchy was pretty evident but during the 30’s there were countless movies that showed a headstrong female lead but there role and discourse in the movie were especially when depicting sexuality. Women were not really treated as symbolic for sexuality; largely they played roles of young damsel in distress, however they shed significant amount of light on the strength of a woman’s to confront all her problems. The movies then followed a strict feministic theme and usually along with a female lead there were greedy and lustful antagonist that turned out to be the prime source of conflict in the movie plot. The commercial success of movies such as Dokhtar-e-Lor or the Lor Girl in 1933 showed the hardships and plight of a gypsy woman. Though the movie entailed strong factual errors and numerous directorial flaws but the heroic tale of Golonar, the Lor Girl became an instant success on an international front. The main protagonist was played by an Iranian singer and the movie propagated a progressive image of the Iranian society that the Shah wanted to establish. The plot of the movies largely revolved around the domestic problems of women and since their roles in the society was rather limited. (Lahiji, 2011) However, once the Islamic revolution had taken place the Iranian society became largely misogynistic in their practices. There was hardly any freedom given to the female population and at this point women’s participation in theater and films rapidly declined as it was compulsory for women to wear hijab and they were unable to step out of their houses without their “mahram’, which is a collective term for a woman’s male relative such as husband, brother or father. One of the main drawbacks that occurred as a result of this practice was prostitution, a problem that was further exacerbated by the Iran-Iraq war. (Donmez-Colin, 2004, p.155-170 & Dabashi, 2001, p. 7) Since most of the male members of the family had gone to war, women had no choice but to support their families by resorting to prostitution. In a country governed according to religious guidelines, though prostitution dealings are done from behind a veil but all these elements are pretty rampant in Iran. Iranian women are the prime victims of domestic and marital violence. Not only on a domestic front but women have to endure great atrocities especially the criminal justice and correctional system for women is often labeled as being ruthless. Women prisoners live in awful conditions and are treated like animals. They are often subjected to brutal physical and sexual abuse, during the Khomeini era any virgin prisoner on a death row ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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