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Iranian Woman Declared too Beautiful to Be a Politician

Iranian Woman Declared too Beautiful to Be a Politician

Nina Siakhali Moradi knew that gender inequality was a massive problem in Iran – in fact, promoting women’s rights was a primary motivation for her to run for Qazvin’s city council. However, even she probably couldn’t have guessed the reason she would be retroactively disqualified from the election: being too attractive.

That’s right, male officials in Iran have deemed Moradi simply too beautiful to hold public office. They even allege that she won her campaign based on her looks alone, calling her posters “vulgar and anti-religious.” To the contrary, her posters are in line with Islamic tradition. In the photograph in question, Moradi dons a hijab and hides all of her hair, as well as her skin other than her face.

Although Moradi initially fell short of earning a position on the council outright, by earning 10,000 votes she became an official alternate should a member of the council be unable to fulfill his (or her – but let’s be realistic here) duties. Subsequently, one such Councilmember left to become mayor, thus freeing up a seat for Moradi.

That’s when a review board – made up exclusively of older men – intervened to prevent Moradi from joining Qazvin’s council. “We don’t want a catwalk model on the council,” they declared in an official statement to the press.

The real problem may not lie just with Moradi’s looks, but her politics. She ran for office with the slogan “Young Ideas for a Young Future,” a campaign that enlivened local twenty-somethings while disturbing older conservative leaders who prefer a more traditional approach to governing.

Experts have called the decision illegal by even Iran’s misogynistic standards. If she were to be deemed unfit for office, that should have been declared prior to the election, not after a judiciary board approved Moradi’s candidacy and she won a seat on the council. This late move appears to be a clear attempt to block her progressive politics from having any influence.

Moradi is not the only one facing repercussions for daring to try to lead while being attractive. Two other women who ran for a seat on the council (but received fewer votes) have been detained and had their posters confiscated.

After women’s rights backtracked in Iran in recent years, the current and newly elected president, Hassan Rowhani, vowed to restore freedoms to the women of his country. However, with conflicting attitudes throughout the existing government, it is clear that reinstating these rights will be an immense struggle.

Before Americans look too condescendingly at the Iranian people for their oppression of pretty women, remember that, last month, the Iowa Supreme Court reached a similar determination when it declared that it was okay for a man to fire a female employee for being too attractive.

Evidently, it’s pretty universal for women to be viewed as sex objects first and contributing members of society second. If you ever doubt the existence of the patriarchy, look back at these bogus “laws” that ask, “How can men get any work done with all of these hot women around here?”

Sign this petition to help ensure violence against women inside and outside of the political arena is prevented.

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It's her campaign poster, so I figure the photo is okay to snatch

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174 comments

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1:24PM PDT on Aug 26, 2013

The fact that we are hearing about such things tells me that women's rights are on the verge of making great strides in Iran. Iran at least allows a dialogue on the issues of woman's oppression, and I've watched many Iranian produced documentary films on the topic. There are much worse places in the middle-east, such as Saudi Arabia, where a woman would not have even been allowed to run a political campaign in the first place. What I find very interesting is that the dictatorial countries such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, which offer no freedoms for people, especially women, are allies of the United States of America. Why does the USA choose and tolerate such oppressive countries as allies?

7:38PM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

What does Beauty has to with Politics?

5:12AM PDT on Aug 23, 2013

Pictures of women wearing a hijab are obscene and should not be shown to the public.

3:22AM PDT on Aug 23, 2013

It has nothing to do with FAITH, but authority, power and subjugation!!

3:49PM PDT on Aug 22, 2013

These idiots have no respect for their women so this doesn't surprise me the least

12:05PM PDT on Aug 22, 2013

Disgusting.Petition alredy signed,thanks for sharing

6:15PM PDT on Aug 21, 2013

Sounds typical for Iran. It's a shame!!!

4:49PM PDT on Aug 21, 2013

That is just too messed up. That is just another way to keep the women from rising over there.

2:25AM PDT on Aug 21, 2013

ha ha ha amazing people! What an excuse! But it's well known: men are stupid.

4:41AM PDT on Aug 20, 2013

Noted

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Kathleen J. Kathleen is currently the Activism Coordinator at Care2. more
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