Behind the veil, Iran's women as ambitious as we are
Despite the best efforts of hard-liners to silence them, female voices are leading the charge for revolutionary change, says Carol Hunt
A friend recently returned from Tehran and commented on the number of veiled young women in that city with bandages across their noses. Had they been beaten by bullying husbands or fathers? Or hit while being hauled into prison by the ever vigilant 'morality police'?
Neither of the above. Incredibly, Iran is now considered a 'nose-job' nation. Plastic surgery clinics are full of women aged 18-25 who say that if due to the nations' restrictive dress codes, they are only allowed to show their faces, then they are going to make sure that those faces are as perfect as possible. Beauty salons thrive in the northern part of Iran where women can, quite literally, throw off their restraints and talk grooming and politics. "Iranian women are intelligent, sexy and self-confident," said a therapist. "The rest of the world doesn't perceive this. Instead it thinks of the oppressive image of a woman in a chador."
At home, Iranian women watch American soap operas and news programmes on illegal, but easily available, satellite dishes. They are adept at accessing the internet, blogging and twittering to an increasingly attentive outside world.