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Porochista Khakpour

Porochista Khakpour was born in Tehran in 1978 and raised in the Greater Los Angeles area (South Pasadena, to be exact). Her first language was Farsi, her second (and luckily[…]

Iranian women, Khakpour says, are the real force in the household.

Question: Is the image of the victimized Middle Eastern woman accurate?

Khakpour:    You know someone once asked me, you know, why did you choose to write about Middle Eastern men and not Middle Eastern women?  I don’t know their reality.  I don’t know any women in Iran who have had to wear the ___________, you know.  I don’t know women of that era.  My mother, you know, was in Iran last in the ‘70s at the height of the __________, you know.  And she . . .  In the summers she would go shopping in Milan.  And you know they were quite western at that point.  I don’t know what it’s like for Middle Eastern women today.  But from what I’ve heard, you know Iran is the      . . .  From what I’ve heard, they are . . . they are a little bit perplexed by the image of Iranian women as incredibly downtrodden.  There’s lots of jokes, and proverbs, and __________ about how, you know, Middle Eastern . . . or Iranian women are this force and the real force of the household, and I tend to believe in that.  Obviously what’s happened since the revolution, it’s been horrible for women.  And you know incredible human rights violations have been specifically targeting women.  But I think their day-to-day reality is different.  And Iran is a country where the majority of people . . . university . . . the majority of the university students are women.  I think that’s interesting in spite of what’s been happening there.  So it’s tricky to speak on that.  Maybe that’s part of why I chose to focus on Middle Eastern men.  They’re . . .  I have an easier time imagining what it’s like for them.  It’s . . .  There . . .  It’s a more complicated mixed bag with what’s happening with women there.