Iranian Men Dress In Drag For Gender Equality
April 25, 2013 9:59 AM   Subscribe

Kurdish men are dressing in women's clothing in response to the punishment given to a convicted man earlier this month. He was paraded down the streets of Marivan in a woman’s dress in order to humiliate him.

"Hiwa lives in Marivan. He took part in Tuesday’s protest.
Public humiliation has been used as punishment before in other Iranian cities, but not ours. Personally, though this man was a criminal [Editor's Note: he was convicted on charges of battery and disrupting the public order], I am against public humiliation. However, in this case, it’s the technique chosen to do this that upset me the most. This sentence is insulting to half of our population, that is, all Iranian women.

Among those who protested on Tuesday were about a dozen women wearing red dresses, similar to the traditional outfit the guilty man was made to wear. They belonged to the Marivan Women’s Community, which is very active in our region. They fight for women’s rights, for example by protesting against honour killings.

Residents of Marivan do not like being mistreated. We often protest to fight for our rights -- more than in most Iranian cities. I think this is in part thanks to the presence of Marivan University, whose students are quite active. For example, they recently organised demonstrations to ask the government to reopen the border with Iraq, which Marivan is close to, in order to boost our region’s economy.

As far as I can remember, this is the first time in Iran that a man has been sentenced to being dressed in drag. [Editor’s Note: Along with the man who was paraded through Marivan on April 15, two other men received the same sentence, but in their cases, it has not yet been carried out]. I think that the fact that this happened in Marivan is no coincidence, but rather a way to try to scare a population deemed unruly. However, this has completely backfired!
Hajir Sharifi is an Iranian Kurd who lives in Europe. He took part in the Facebook campaign.
The fact that a criminal was sentenced to dress like a Kurdish woman is a double insult. Being a woman is not something to be ashamed of, as the Iranian courts would have you believe. And the fact that the dress chosen was a Kurdish one is also insulting to the Kurdish community, which is already stigmatised in Iran.

I’m glad members of parliament condemned this sentence, but that’s not enough. The judge who made this call should be punished for this. I also think the MP from Marivan should resign as a sign of protest.
posted by Blasdelb (15 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
God I love reading about protests like this! Thank you for posting it. I would never have heard about it otherwise.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:13 AM on April 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

Oh, I know, let's base our system of judicial punishment around the ideas drunk bros get while betting on football games.
posted by phunniemee at 10:16 AM on April 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

*bro fist*
posted by LogicalDash at 10:24 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Man, if they did that in England, it would start off as humiliation and end up being a badge-of-honour for the chavs made to wear it: "Yeah I was wearin' the red dress last wek, innit."
posted by marienbad at 10:26 AM on April 25, 2013 [5 favorites]

It's a little dusty in here.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:38 AM on April 25, 2013

posted by anotherpanacea at 10:40 AM on April 25, 2013

This could be a big year for the Kurds. They have created a mini-state in Syria with the ongoing revolution there, have a state in all but name in the autonomous region in Iraq and are fighting an active insurgency against Iran under the PJAK.
Reports today suggesting that Syria is using Sarin gas are going to raise the possibility of US military involvement in Syria with air strikes. The threat of a major confrontation with Iran in the fall or winter of this next year is also very high. So the Kurds could potentially make territorial gains and consolidate power across their areas of ethnic majority everywhere but Turkey in the next 18 months.
posted by humanfont at 10:45 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's inspiring to see that even in a culture as repressive as Iran's, there are people brave enough to take such an outspoken stand for equality.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:45 AM on April 25, 2013 [6 favorites]

The threat of a major confrontation with Iran in the fall or winter of this next year is also very high.
haha, yeah, it's awesome that they're--

wait what
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:46 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

NO! NO! NO! They are doing it all wrong.
I have seen Christmas & MLK day parades in my hometown with far less cops. St. Patty's day, that is a different story. If this was common in the US, I'd like to think that only one cop car would be needed, and they'd make the man walk in front of it. Efficiency, that's what I care about.
posted by It is better for you not to know. at 11:02 AM on April 25, 2013

Look at the calendar. June is the Iranian Presidential election -- can't have a war before then. The US mid terms start in Dec 2012 -- hard to start a war at that point, also winter. So between June and October there either has to be some real progress towards a settlement of the nuclear issue with Iran, or the US / Israel will launch some kind of military action. Given the pressure from Israel and the Gulf States along with the compressed schedule it seems like war is very likely.
posted by humanfont at 11:13 AM on April 25, 2013

Love it! Thanks.
posted by mareli at 11:22 AM on April 25, 2013

When Joe Arpaio read about this, he sided with the Iranian judge.
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 11:33 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Heh. Nice.
posted by homunculus at 2:31 PM on April 25, 2013

When I get myself to Kurdistan, my first order of business is to take myself to a tailor and get myself some of them baggy Kurdish pants. Too cool!
posted by Meatbomb at 5:07 PM on April 25, 2013

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