Nothing is more telling about a society than its views of itself especially
those of its youth who carry the burden of the nation’s immediate future.
During informal interviews with Iranian teenage girls in and around
schoolyards, one can learn many things about the character, bravery,
thoughts, and worldliness of these young ladies, including their current
place in society as opposed to what they would like it to be.
An experienced psychologist could not explain it better than these students,
who openly and clearly declare the obvious: when a society is
overly-constrained, people are naturally drawn to what is forbidden. The
Iranian society under its current laws is limited and suffocating. Girls
especially feel helpless and imprisoned.
Their lack of control over their lives goes beyond their desires to choose
their appearance, but rather where their country stands in the international
arena. Their severe social and political difficulties and oppression has put
these young girls on a higher philosophical level than their Western
In comparison, for example, American youth often have no clue who his/her
political representatives are, and where U.S. stands on domestic and foreign
policies. That is because the American teen is not bogged down by the
possibility of punishment for having images of rock stars on his/her
notebook. Simply put, the American teen is allowed to be a teen!
Iranian teenage girls want an Iran where they feel safe, where good things
exist. They spoke of an idealistic homeland, a place where their lives are
not wasted, where women can have dreams and their future children can have
hope for the future.
They have a profound sense that Iran is “lost,” and everyone wants to leave
it. They complain that women are not respected in the Islamic Republic.
Before marriage, the family including younger brothers controls the girls,
and after marriage the husband takes over.
Women are not allowed to be independent or free. Without money in the
Islamic Republic, a woman’s problems are ten-fold.
Through satellite the girls know that the world views Iran negatively. As
Iranians, this is a source of great pain. They talk about doing something to
give Iran a good name.
The girls say they are not debating the right to wear miniskirts or
strapless tops, but freedom of speech! In the Islamic Republic, nobody can
talk freely without being physically punished as opposed to other countries
where people can even speak poorly of their leaders without fear for their
They feel that when a people and a society no longer care about life, and
see it as useless and empty then it is not worth living. They constantly ask
why their way of life has been decided for them from birth to death. What
kind of a choice and freedom is that?
One young girl states when she is alone, she often wonders if she can travel
back in time to stop the unpleasant changes that will affect her future. As
an Iranian girl, to what changes and place in time is she referring?
The girls show a popular game they love to play on their computers. In it
one can choose how to dress, what to do for a living, what kind of house to
build, who to marry, to have children, and to travel.
These bright young ladies know society regards educated women differently,
but lament a college education as regardless they could not find jobs after
graduation. They murmur they’re like lab mice, first for one system then
Two-thirds of the Iranian society living under a Constitution based on
Sharia laws is comprised of those under the age of 30.
It is amazing that a 2500-year old nation with a golden history including
the foundation of tolerance through its Cyrus Cylinder, advanced legal
system in the late antiquities, the keeper and transmitter of ancient and
Western knowledge, as well as female co-rulers and monarchs would fall to
this level in 2011.
This generation of Iranians has been compressed to the max and it is ready
to explode. Its youth are upset, embarrassed, and disoriented regarding
their social and political problems as opposed to those of the Free World.
This young society, the heiress to Iran’s future, does not understand or
digest Sharia laws. But it understands the basic needs and wants of a humane
society regardless of its ethnicity, religious beliefs, and geography.
In Iran, Islamism is on its deathbed if the most oppressed members of
society, constituting half of the population, speaks as such!
Sheda Vasseghi is a member of the
Board of Azadegan Foundation and persepolis3d.com. She is a regular contributor
on Iran’s affairs.
This Article published in the
Free Pressers this is a courtesy copy to the