Iranian Women: Elements of Change in "Feminine Breeze"


by msabaye

In 2006, I was invited by the organizers of Peace Week at the University of Toronto to perform and also host a film screening session. The director was invited to attend and present the film, but she could not make it. "Voice of Women" organization later asked me to write something about the film. This was done on a very short notice. The article was first published in Ontario Voice of Women Newsletter on December 2006 issue. Here is it is:

“FEMININE BREEZE arts and freedom in Iran” is a gentle breeze bringing promises of hope and change in an unlikely place by seemingly unlikely people. While women in Iran are conventionally conceived as keepers of tradition, this film presents an alternative view depicting Iranian women as elements of change. The German director, Antje Beyen, exmaines the life of women in Iran. Six women of various occupations and ages are interviewed: they describe part of their working conditions, challenges, limitations, and their solutions. It is hard to decide which one is the bigger shock: the obstacles they have to overcome to achieve their goal or the optimism and dynamism with which they struggle. Their optimism is not a simple-minded type; they are fully aware of the dangers lying on their path to change. They are, however, very confident and resourceful. One example taken from the experience of the teacher of the national women Karate team is the difficulty women faced in participating in international competitions as they are not allowed to appear in public without head cover. This hurdle did not discourage them from dreaming about appearing in international competitions; instead they came up with a head cover that would meet the requirements so that they can compete outside Iran. Rooting themselves in tradition, women try to bring about change in their social conditions by resourcefulness, confidence, and optimism. They are fully aware of not mere challenges but dangers, they take responsibility for their actions, and they continue to express their autonomy through their media of art, sports, or journalism.
The film won the award for Best Short Foreign independent documentary at Santa Cruz Film Festival.

Information on how to obtain the film can be found at:


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