by javaneh29

Way back when .... in the early days of the revolution I lived in Tehran. I was 17 years old, married, pregnant and was obviously present during that piece of Irans history. 

Prior to those early days of the revolution I always dressed with care and with respect for the religion and culture of the country I had grown to love. My family was zartoshti but the events from August '78 through to January '79 led me to wear  chador when I went out for my own safety. Women I knew complained bitterly about it. The first time I wore it it felt strange and I had to practice putting it on and wearing and walking in it before I felt comfotable enough to go out into the street. It was a little like dressing up but this time I didnt have a choice.

My experience was a little different to many I guess, I actually welcomed it, It provided me with an anonymity that was simply not possible for me before. As a young western girl I attracted much attention everywhere I went. It really was unpleasant and unwelcome and I had to work hard to overcome the fear that developed as a result of the constant and unrelenting attention from men and looks of hatred and intrigue from all the women.

I loved wearing my chador. No one bothered me, I could wear my pj's underneath to go across the street to buy fresh nan barbary for breakfast bah bah. I didnt have to make sure I looked presentable, it was ok if I was having a bad hair day. I could wear what I wanted beneath my black all consumming cloak.

Years before, when I had almost no farsi at all, much against the advice of my family and friends I frequently went out alone: head strong and determined not to be dependant on everyone for everything I tried to go about my business, shopping, visiting, or simply site seeing, orientating myself with my neighbourhood and gradually as I grew bolder and more confident, to places further afield, like the bazzar! I never got lost there .. I heeded the warnings and created my own system to find my way around, Anyway I digress, thats another story.... So in those first few months, when I dare not admitt that I had ventured out alone during my husbands absence from home, I was more than a little perplexed when car after car used to stop and the drivers talk to me from their windows ... how innocent I wss. I thought to myself, 'why do they ask me for directions when I so obviously look like a foriegner!' Later when I finally asked my dearest friend and cousin Roshanak, I was shocked! and quickly learnt to ignore it.

I can't begin to describe how intimidating all the attention was. It took away my confidence and I dreaded what I knew would happen everytime I stepped outside the door. I had a small teaching job .. english of course. I managed to survive it for a week before I had to leave because it was impossible to walk through the corridors of the college without an entourage of young men.  

So fast forward to the present day ..... I had to renew my passport this week and took my self off to the embassy to get the process underway. No chador this time but of course I had to wear roo sari. I wasnt looking forward to it ... Im not so young and interesting these days and neither am I so shy, but when I speak farsi, ppl want to listen, it still attracts the interest of many. Ppl want know how I came to speak farsi, conversations flourish but the embassy waiting room wasn't a place where I particularly wanted to get into any of that. Again I had to practice a little, try different styles until I felt comfortable and I reminded myself of my grandmother who was often seen wearing a head scarf.

You know something .... again it was not such an unpleasant experience. Of course I realise that here I have a choice unlike our sisters back home. Again it provided me with a modicom of anonymity. People kept asking me 'khanoom ..... what does this mean' 'where do I go' . ... do I look like I know?? !!!  And many were kheile fozool, craining their necks to look in my directiion ... I have pretty neat accent!

I have no idea if I will feel the same when I reach Iran later this year. I'll let you know.



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Dear anonymousx

by javaneh29 on

When I wrote this post ... as I said it was an experience from my perspective as a western wowman. You don't know me or my history as some others do here. So I understand why you feel angry about what we are discussing,.

I would never diminsh the experience of oppression and suffering that the women of Iran are forced to go through. I have lived as the wife of an iranian in Iran myself. I know this side of it too. I speak with some genuine experience. My post was written from thoughts about returning to Iran to live .. which is my reality. I know what I am going to face there and for me it will mean giving up my rights as a western woman and having to live once more as an iranian one. Iran will not recognise my duel nationality.

I cant begin to explain to you here ... but please dont make the mistake in thinking I am not fully aware of the phlight of zan har irani.


rosie is roxy is roshan

Fish, did you even READ my long comment to Nazy?

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

Just curious.


A few clues for the clueless

by AnonymousX (not verified) on

Khomeini took "a long time" to write his tozihol masaael. I shoot that book down in a few seconds too. Do you see your flawed logic?

You want some clues? Spend time and write about Women's plight in Iran, instead of writing on the "advantages" of chador.

I didn't say to be "more like me". This technique won't work my dear. And being unregistered has nothing to do with this issue either unless you are desperately out of reasoning.

Your idea of wearing shoes couple of sizes too small is an EXTREMELY good idea for you. It'll give you a tiny bit of the taste of how it is to be a woman and constantly in pain in Iran, my dear comfortable woman.

Now do some good and go buy yourself that pair of shoes. You'll educate yourself and do the world a favor too.

rosie is roxy is roshan


by rosie is roxy is roshan on

Faramarz: It is DEADLY SERIOUS and that's why it HAS to be scrutinized truthfully, and the fact of the matter is that Javaneh exposes (no pun intended) that she experiences the same comfort of anonymity and not being sexualized that devout Muslims (including MANY Western Muslim or westernized Muslim women who have CHOSEN hijab) and "Muslim law" itself give as the reason for hijab. It might not be what we LIKE to hear but it's first of all HER truth, and second of all indicative of A truth within the whole viewpoint of these devout Muslims. If "we" are ever going to make any progress in dealing with the extremes of Islam we have to understand these people...andgive credit where credit is due. I'm AGAINST hijab (not against women CHOOSING it as their right, but against it in principle for myself, and its being imposed, and the more excessive it is, the more I'm against it for others too, the BLAAAAAAAAACKNESS of the classical Iranian chador...the burqa--those things are dangerous, they cause osteoporosis, traffic accidents...

but issues are not black and white. They have to be scrutinized truthfully in their complexity.

Another ironic truth that Javaneh and I discussed earlier si that certain hijab styles can be MUCH more erotic than non-hijab...and these things are...true...

As for you Margie, if you ever wear rusar, it had damn better be blue or I will know the reason why.. well actually burqas are usually blue..might suit you...you could wear one on your first date from jdate...


I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

It's ok Rosie. They didn't bother to write Nazy's post.

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

That's the trouble. Nazy takes time and effort to write posts here. I appreciate that - and not just because I agree with her usually, but rather because she says things I didn't think of before. 

Most of these drive by posters don't have a name or identity here. Better that way! If they bothered to read what Nazy wrote, the post would embarrass himself. Oh i'm sure it's a Him. 

rosie is roxy is roshan


by rosie is roxy is roshan on

Another sniperfish comes and in two seconds shoots down things that took reg users a long time to write and discuss. So if we're clueless, clue us in!  What did we do wrong and what should we do to right it? Why are we selfish and apathetic and what should we do to be more like you? (should we start by unregistering and writing very quickly?) and if we are too comfortable, would it help if we wore shoes a couple of sizes too small? Are you uncomfortable? Are you in Iran? If so, why don't you tell us about it.


Thanks god

by AnonymousX (not verified) on

Thanks to god that the brave women in Iran are not counting on the likes of YOU, the clueless women who have posted in this blog, to help them gain their most basic freedom which are violated on a daily basis.

Shame on you for being so selfish, comfortable and apathic.

rosie is roxy is roshan

Nazy, not so sure . /A short video

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

 Though mandatory hejab is a violation of Iranian women's human rights, it is not their biggest problem. Laws governing everything from their divorce and custody to inheritence rights are their problem 

Nazy, it's a symbol. It's a symbol of the things you say: the divorce and child custody and inheritance laws. It's a symbol of dual standards for testifying in court, murderous adultery laws for women far more than men, segregated hospitals w/shortage of doctors; all of it. It's the one unifying symbol for all of it. So it's in some ways most important of all.

And when it gets to the point where the women get arrested, or even beaten by the hijab police, just for showing some hair or wearing a bright color or whatever, depending on severity or laxity of official tolerance at any time....it becomes not only symbolicaaly but also concretely just as serious as all the rest. And if it WEREN'T that important that so many women were WILLING to risk arrest and beatings, they wouldn't do it.

I know I know, most of them SAY it's not that important anymore, just a nuisance, but look what they do, not just what they say..

So I think to say it's not the biggest problem depends on which way you choose to look at the diamond, which facet sand through which lens.

Remember you can't walk out into the street with your hair hanging out from your child custody case or from the complicatoins from your delayed medical operation, but you CAN walk out with it hanging out from your headscarf...and that's very important..it works both ways, as a symbol of repression AND a symbol of rebellion and the willingness to take the concomitant risks.

Anyway on a lighter (or heavier, depending on how you look at it) note, here's a short video:


Nazy Kaviani

A treat in disguise (of hejab)

by Nazy Kaviani on

I lived in Iran for a number of years after the revolution. I never did learn how to wear the chador, nor was I terribly good or effective with the head scarf. My hair was always showing and you couldn't catch me without nail polished fingers or not wearing bright lipstick. I didn't really get into trouble much either, except for when I had to attend meetings in government offices, and I got off easily on almost all occasions.

The fact that it's mandatory and against what I would choose to wear has always gotten on my nerves. I have been particularly upset with non-muslims having to wear it at all.

The only truly practical thing about it was the ease with which I could get dressed for work and leave the house everyday. Instead of worrying too much about my hair and clothes and accessories, I would put on my uniform and go. For the first time in my life I learned why it's so much easier for men to get ready and leave the house.

Though mandatory hejab is a violation of Iranian women's human rights, it is not their biggest problem. Laws governing everything from their divorce and custody to inheritence rights are their problem.

You will get used to it quickly, dear Javaneh, appreciating the practical warmth during he winter and hating the extra degrees of heat under it during the summer. I think in return for the restrictions hejab and living in Iran will create for you, you are in for a treat in re-orienting yourself with the country, its people, and its rich culture. Without knowing you personally, I can tell you that you will be loved and respected by Iranians wherever you go. Iranians' hearts just melt when they see someone from a faraway place love one of them, create a family with him, learn his language and customs, and take the trouble to go visit them and stay among them. You will see my friend.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

When I talk to my "American"/Sefid friends

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

They told me something once about this hijab when I explained my view. They said "you know, somedays I want to wear sweats or jeans and just a baseball hat." It's similar in that it's meant to conceal and help us ladies avoid hair issues on bad hair days. So I guess, since one is more "religiously" used, it's more political. But this sentiment about "off-days" for hair/appearance are universal, unless you're the queen of England lol. 


You deserve

by Mehrdad Mekziki (not verified) on

for someone who writes "I have no problem with wearing hijab. It is the cultural expectation, the religious expectation and it does indeed provide anonymity and some safety" you deserve the treatment you get in Iran.



by Abarmard on

I was arguing with my cousin when she told me if tomorrow the government decides to lift the hejabs, I would feel naked. I thought that was strange. 

Regardless, we all agree that what you wear should not be forced and hopefully Iran will socially advance to accept individual Rights.

Thanks for this interesting piece. 


Thanks for your contributions ladies

by javaneh29 on

I so glad you took my post in the spirit it was written in.... I expected to be pounced on, as is sadly the case with most blogs. Except for the two bloggers which dont merit any response, not because they might have different views but because they clearly didnt read my post properly ( I apologise if your english comprehension is poor),

I have no problem with wearing hijab. It is the cultural expectation, the religious expectation and it does indeed provide anonymity and some safety. I understand why so many women and men are against it.... back to loss of freedom to choose... and this is more about a protest over male domination. If it was left to women to choose, they might well choose to wear hijab anyway.

 And marge jaan I love hair styling too!! I always wanted to be a hairdresser actually! but ended up doing something totally different. Funni though, I have 2 out of 3 kids who are trained hairdressers.



Are you women out of your mind?!!

by Faramarz_Fateh on

Hijab is the primary physical means for oppression of women.  Chador, or worse crap like the burka worn in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan is worn just so men do not get excited about seeing a woman's face, body, skin, eyes etc.  Do you remember the F'ing moron Banisadr who said there were rays eminating from hair of women which made men mad?!

If Muslim men can not control their urges, give them something so they don't get an erection.  There are chemical compounds that were given to Iranian soldiers so they don't get horney in the showers or during late nights. Force men to take these pills instead of forcing women to wear hijab.

Women EVERYWHERE MUST protest and refrain from wearing any sort of mandatory hijab.  If a woman wants to wear whatever she wants because she is having a bad hair day or its that time of the month or she wants to wear pjs and go out for noon barbari, so be it; she is doing it by choice.

2/3 of women in Iran are wearing hijab because they have to; THIS MUST STOP.

You that live in the west and have a choice, please don't "cutized" this issue.....this is serious.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

I find it refreshing that WOMEN are discussing this topic

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

I'm tired of men using hijab in political discourse. There's a conversation outside of that field that should take place. 

This was a great blog Javaneh. Thanks for being honest. 

Personally, I don't like hijab too much because I'm a big fan of hair styling and love to show that off. BUT hijab can be a valuable tool on those other days, or days when you just want to have "those" traits ignored. I definitely understand why some women choose to wear it. They might feel more comfortable. 

Flying Solo


by Flying Solo on




Undercover Fashion show in

by ,,.. (not verified) on

Undercover Fashion show in Iran:




by javaneh29 on

hahaa thanks for the links .... incase I ever need them!

Have a look at this website and check out the latest chic in swim wear !...... I dont know about catching the worlds eye though.  


There is a lot of helpful info here for me but not sure about this particular outfit!


rosie is roxy is roshan

Well I googled...

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

image and text both, and I couldn't come up with a hit for any woman ever using a chador as a swimsuit.In fact the famous interview of Oriana Fallacci with Khomeini came up; apparently she asked how women would swim in chadors and he got mad and she got mad and took off hers and he walked out.. But he had to finish the interview two days later, she was the most famous journalist in the world (actually as I recall she interviewed the Shah too..)


I did come up with these I thought you 'd like to see..

this one is supposedly a bathing suit!


this one is more like it:


and this one is funny but it's sad too:


I mean, who the hell does he think HE is?


He didn't keep as well as we did, did he?

Oh btw I think I'm a couple of years older than you, I'll turn 50 in August.

Take care,





Rosie jaan

by javaneh29 on

Your story is funni and I know so well what your desrcibing. I think hijab can look very stunning. In Dubai last year, I saw so many knock out women in the most exotic and stylish hijab. Iranian women are themselves very beautiful, with or without.

Once summer we went to the caspian for a few days break  (this is back in the 70's). I was there with my husband and some other family and friends, maybe about 10 of us, all young and we had the best time ... I went off to have a shower in the shower building on the beach side and was almost attacked physically by a small group of women, who were admonishing me for wearing a very modest bathing costume. I had noticed this group of women earlier in the water ... actually everyone noticed them, with a great deal of embarresment. They were covered very respectably in their pale chadors...... but underneath they were naked!!!! as you can imagine when wet, it revealed everything showing much more than my costume. The  paradox was lost on them or their choice was intentional, I will never know the answer to that. Back then it was not compulsary to wear chador and almost no one did.

Rosie yes I look much younger than I am, god knows how, it must be in my genes and with huge thanks to clarins and lets say, if I wanted to I could still 'pull'!! I so hate that expression .... I think we are the same age? Its not a problem anymore .......I can handle it!!!!  but back then, no way, I was 17, niaive, shy  and very uncomfortable with all attention I created. Curiosity is one thing, but as all women who have lived in Tehran know, the ambush of some men by no means all, is really inappropriate and unpleasant and is similar to assault, infact it would be assault here in the UK, From what I hear from friends that has not changed. Except there is a chance that if you are assaulted, you might be blamed for it because you showed some hair or wore too much make up ..ehhhh.



Do Not Like Attention??

by 1Dariushagha (not verified) on

This is Not normal.You must be sick.Have you gone to a psychologist? Hiding from others? is almost same as being withdrawn, sound like you may have depression.

Have you heard, Ru sari Ya tu Sari? I guess you like Tu Sari.

rosie is roxy is roshan

It is interesting because...

by rosie is roxy is roshan on

the experience you had of being comfortable with the anonymity is as you know the exact reason why the hijab is prescribed by the Shariah (I do not believe it is in the Quran itself???) Modesty. It is said to be liberating for the women because then they can be more themselves because they will not attract the sexual attention. Of course that is doublespeak but that's the point of DOUBLEspeak, it has its bit of truth..and that is why certain Muslim women in the west actually choose it, sometimes even over the protests of their families (that coupled with the desire for a "cultural" and/or "anti-imperialist" identification...)

I had a very funny experience a few weeks ago. There is a 24 hour pizzeria in my building in Manahttan and I hang out there with the Arab guys who run it (Yemeni and Egyption) and we joke about  the Perssians, the Israelis, Jews and Arabs, pretty much everyone (n several different languages). So we were joking about the Persians (how crazy you all are) and all of a sudden these five pretty obviously college student Iranican women come in from the disco for pizza--it is late at night. And four of them are just dressed in Western garb (you know with the not-QUITE designer huge leather bag and shoes that you KNOW once they start working is going to be a real thousand dollar bag...and you know a couple of nose jobs and the makeup and what-not, and of course the white skin and the black hair. They are speaking English with what we call a "Valley Girl" accent and not one word of Persian but they are Iranican beyond a shadow of a doubt. There is a very specific way of dressing,  slinky, revealing, dramatic but always elegant, high heels, jewelry...way of dressing, way of moving, of being...of a certain type of Iranian woman, young or old, here or there...and don't forget we don't have a large Persian community in New York City so it is very surprising for five to pop up in the middle of the night just when you are talking about them..anyway..

rhe fifth girl is in hijab.She is completely covered except for face and hands.  It is pink and tight and she has everything from the pink satin belt to the matching bag and she has the mother of all nose jobs and the most perfectly coordinated make-up job with the pinkest natural looking blush cheeks and with the most stunning lip gloss and so on... and the robusrt, come-hither innocence, you know the type...

and she is the one who is most obviously putting forth her sexuality and going to get the most attention from men (and women and dogs too..). It was sooo funny...I couldn't wait til they left, I started cracking up and so did Abdul and Mike. Abdul is a pretty traditional Yemeni Muslim and Mike is a half-French Egyptian who lived in France, much more progressive, and I am me..

but we all thought the whole thing was just hysterical..we couldn't stop laughing.

This chick worked it WAY better than Maryam Rajavi with her Islamofashionista sense...

and will probably get a few guys to immolate themselves over her too.


Oh and ps, there is NO WAY NO WAY you're gonna tell me that you don't knock 'em dead these few years later w/or w/out chador...c'mon Javaneh, you can't pull the wool over this Rose's petals. LOL


not just you

by Anonymous 1 (not verified) on

Virtually any woman gets the attention of the males, and the younger, the more. So don't take it personally. One of my friends, who is fat... er... obese is more like it, went to Iran, and people show curiosity. Just loosen up. People are just more social and interactive there. And if it bothers you so much, you always have the option of not going, you know! ;)

And no respectable woman, goes it in their pijamas in their chadors. It shows. Perhaps people thought you were mentally weak & unstable, and tried to take advantage of a woman in her PJs.