Accepted paper:

The symbol of Fatemeh Zahra: ideal and changes of body politics in Islamic Republic of Iran


Vedran Obućina (University of Rijeka)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explains the notion of good female citizen and the trajectories of changes in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Paper long abstract:

Fatemeh Zahra (s.a.), daughter of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), is embodiment of pure and moral Islamic woman, and especially venerated in Shi'ite Islam. She forms one of five most important persons for world Shi'ism (next to the Prophet, her husband Ali, and her two sons Hassan and Hossein). After the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iranian officials promoted the symbol of Fatemeh as a model for contemporary Iranian woman. It involves compassion, sharing, suffering, weeping, and piety. She is often pictured in chador, long black cover for women in Iran. As such, Fatemeh Zahra is a symbol for many conservative women in Iran and source of strengthening the symbolic capital of the Islamic Republic. However, although the chador was also a symbol of resistance to the Shah's oppression, many women in Iran refuse to wear chador, focusing primarily on wearing a simple scarf (rusari) and overcoat (manto). This paper follows the trajectories of changes occurring from the symbol of Fatemeh to the symbol of non-traditional women, seeking body liberation and restrain from the official mourning. At the same time, the paper is looking how traditional women regard this issue. The paper is part of the PhD work on the symbolic capital of the Islamic Republic and is consequence of primary research in Iran.

panel Body006
Body, emotion, gender