December 27, 2011

Hardline clerics in Iran criticize Ahmadinejad for promoting "Islamic and beautiful" clothes for women.

The government's fashion show did not deviate from the requirement that women cover their hair and bodies in public. The dispute is more about things like leaving coats unbuttoned and wearing boots.
Followed by television cameras, a team of judges — mostly men — circled the halls, grading the coats on their functionality, design and “Islamic-ness.”...
According to the linked WaPo article, Ahmadinejad is posing as "a champion of civil rights" to win votes for his supporters in the March parliamentary elections.
[W]ith young adults making up the majority of the population — nearly 70 percent of Iran’s more than 72 million people are younger than 35 — religious conservatives have been waging an uphill battle to prevent young urban women from dressing the way they want, even within the framework of the laws that mandate coats and scarves....

On any given day, women in the streets of Tehran can be seen wearing combinations of wide-open coats, heavy makeup and towering platinum blond hairdos held in place by large hair clips and minimally covered by brightly colored scarves. Technically, they are not violating the dress code, but they can still be arrested.
Unfortunately there are no photos of Tehran street fashion at the link, only of the government's more moderate fashion show. Maybe WaPo doesn't want to get these young people in trouble. You can Google "street fashion Tehran" or something like that to try to get to some pictures.

It's fascinating the extremes that one resorts to when stuck with some specific rules. Where the rules give some room individual expression, you go all out. So, of course, heavy makeup and hair teased high for under-scarf impact. Find a picture that shows one of these young people and show it to someone who doesn't know what restrictions that person is dealing with. See what they say, then tell them what they are looking at. Watch them go from derision to respect in an instant. As I say, it's fascinating.

My links on "heavy makeup" go to the website of a photographer who writes: "I now live in iran which has become way more exciting to me than New York [because] of all the diverse art and the energy of its youth."

Now, I feel like I'm almost unwittingly making an argument in favor of limitations! But no, I'm for freedom. In an environment of American freedom, you'll have a hard time coming up with something truly original and expressive. Heavy makeup and teased hair... it's not daring and transgressive. What is? Perhaps, ironically, modesty... or modesty with irony. I'll let you know when I find pictures on the internet of that. Googling things like "modest dress in america" only takes me into the realm of religion. Which is ironic, but not the kind of irony I'm looking for.

ADDED: From Hijab style — I love this one. And then there's this.

AND: Those 2 links ended up taking you to the same place. This is the one I meant to say I loved. And this is the other one I meant to point out.

27 comments:

MadisonMan said...

I wait to read what Robin Givhan writes about this.

Psychedelic George said...

That image at the "heavy" link looks like David Bowie in the "Blue Jean" video.

edutcher said...

Reminiscent of the commercial back in the Reagan years showing a Russian "fashion show" with 200 pound models showing latest Kremlin-approved fashion and the apparatchik commenting, "Verry nice".

EMD said...

Svimvear!

Paddy O said...

"modest" links take you to religion because "modest" is word really only used in religion nowadays.

Indeed, in our culture that celebrates extroversion and exhibitionism, being called "modest" is mostly an insult or correction.

But I think there are equivalents. I am thinking especially of the Pacific Northwest style, caring more about comfort, warmth, freedom of movement for activities. Ease of preparation means little to no makeup. Basically environmentalist or pioneer sorts of values.

That ends up being pretty much the definition of modest, if not stereotypically feminine modesty. Look in an REI catalog for examples, well skip the Yoga outfits, then look at the rest.

Bruce Hayden said...

Reminiscent of the commercial back in the Reagan years showing a Russian "fashion show" with 200 pound models showing latest Kremlin-approved fashion and the apparatchik commenting, "Verry nice".

That may have been the case back then, but now, not so much, at least for the Russian women who have left.

I go to D.C. at least quarterly for an IP committee that I chair, and a little lobbying the last couple of times. Going out in the evenings, a lot of the hottest women that you see seem to be Russian these days. Beautiful women beautifully dressed.

(Limited) capitalism does seem to have its advantages.

And, I think that the Iranians could possibly follow in their footsteps. The Iranian women I knew before the Shah was ousted tended to be good looking.

d-day said...

God Bless America, where men are free. . . to wear shorts.

MayBee said...


My links on "heavy makeup" go to the website of a photographer who writes: "I now live in iran which has become way more exciting to me than New York [because] of all the diverse art and the energy of its youth."


It's exciting to watch other people deal with limitations, as long as those limitations are optional to you.

Seeing Red said...

If I knew how to embed, I'd embed I think it was a Wendy's commercial when the Russians had the fashion show.


wv: mosca - so close to moskva.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Modest clothing

http://www.sierrabrooke.com/ Has some classic stying and very flattering clothing that I would have worn in my previous work environment.

"Modest" has the connotation of religious conservatism

If you google conservative clothing, you will get many links to brands that specialize in classic, understated and conservatively modest clothing.

Shade Clothing, Coldwater Creek,

And for Althouse's fixation on shorts: KneeShorts (walking shorts and modest apparel)

caplight45 said...

Thank you for posting this and the link to the article. As I read I was once again reminded of the intolerable oppression of the patriarchy that is modern Christianity.

MayBee said...

This time of year especially, fashion is full of jeans/long pants, sweaters and ponchos, boots, and scarves.

The warmer weather fashion this year was full of maxi dresses (with or without t-shirts), maxi skirts, and caftans.

All with lots of coverage and cuteness.

William said...

It is only a small percentage of women who have any real need to wear modest clothing. Time and age and McDonald's create their own chador. I think older and uglier women should be given the same dispensation from religious clothing that chidren have. Women could go to their local board of Imans to be given this dispensation. I'm sure that these boards would be flooded with applicants.

EDH said...

Followed by television cameras, a team of judges — mostly men — circled the halls, grading the coats on their functionality, design and “Islamic-ness.”

"You are a tranny who looks like a hot mess, and not in a good way. You're a tickety tack tranny hot mess out of control super tranny from Tehran who is not apologizing for it."

Fierce: The Hot Mess, "Islamic-ness" Makeover Show

Scott M said...

@EDH

Ridiculous. Ahmahdinnerjacket already said that there are no gay people in Iran.

MayBee said...

I have to admit that seeing women on the streets of Iran who seek to make themselves beautiful doesn't make me respect them so much as it makes me despise the men in that society.

I also have very little patience for Islamic women in the west who choose to wear the head covering as some sort of statement.

Ann Althouse said...

"modest" links take you to religion because "modest" is word really only used in religion nowadays. "

It's a buzzword in law. The Chief Justice is associated with the idea of "judicial modesty."

This shows a problem with googling. If something is some group's buzzword, it's hard to make it work generically.

"Conservative" is hardly a good alternative, since it too is a buzzword.

Trashhauler said...

So, fashionable is deciding if you like the white bedsheet or the one with little flowers on it?

Those poor women.

William said...

Towards a more perfect Islamic Republic: I'm thinking that there should be local agencies like draftboards to classify women according to their sex appeal. Women like Scarlet Johnannson and Kathy Ireland should be put into the 1-A category and made to wear burqas. Such clothing will minimize the damage done to young men in pursuit of moral excellence. Those women who while attractive keep their sex appeal within normal limits can be classified as 2B. They should be assigned the chardor to allow them to function in society withhout causing undue harm to young men. The 3C category belongs to older, divorced women, who still retain part of their fastball.. Such women can wear hijabs and even show a little scalp hair. Perhaps this more seductive look will enable them to find another husband. The 4D category belongs to those women who look like Eleanor Roosevelt. These women can safely be allowed to wear miniskirts and to play soccer in uniforms that do not cause heat exhaustion and swimming suits that do foster drowning.....I'm thinking that as a result of these classifications most women will take to wearing burqas and none will be caught dead wearing a miniskirt.

Jeffrey said...

You want young men in shorts?

Let's go back to the 70's.

I notice two guys are also wearing white belts with their short-shorts. Cool.

MayBee said...

This is an interesting site, where you can see outfits women from all over the world dream of putting together for themselves.

http://www.polyvore.com/cgi/home

All kinds of cute modesty going on out there.

Scott M said...

All kinds of cute modesty going on out there.

Given some of the choices in outfits I saw some teen/college-aged young ladies I saw at both Christmas service and family dinners, I wonder if we've gone too far in the other direction.

rhhardin said...

I'd go with shiny shoes. Catholic girls were warned about them.

Hagar said...

Kind of reminds me of the kind of stuff people would pull on the Germans during the occupation.

rhhardin said...

Feminine modesty is about genitals, in the euphemism biz.

Jose_K said...

The Iranian women I knew before the Shah was ousted tended to be good looking.. Farah Diva and Soraya were part of the Jet Set. iranian women were know for beauty and brain since ancient times.

Freeman Hunt said...

The niqab has become popular with Muslims in our area. The other day, however, a woman who I see at least twice a week was wearing her hijab without her niqab, and I saw her face for the first time. That was neat. We've spoken on numerous occasions, so it was nice to finally see her face.