29 July 2011

Friday Replay- Iran: Women in Community

Good morning! First of all, thank you for all of you sweet responses to yesterdays hair post. You all helped out a lot and help me to decide to grow my hair back out. I'm gonna go for the look that Leslie posted (see comments). So cute! Thanks for your help!


Today I'm starting something called Friday Replay where I get a chance to replay some of the posts that I wrote  back when the only people reading were my mother and husband. So many of them mean a lot to me, and show my heart a bit more, so much so that I want to share them with the many readers I'm blessed to have now! First up, "Iran: Women in Community."

This past weekend I had the privilege of celebrating the near arrival of my dear friend’s first child! Her baby shower was beautiful and the people there, even more so. My friend is Iranian. She moved to the states 2 years ago with her husband who is working on his PhD at our university. We met at an International Thanksgiving dinner 2 years ago, and we got together often so she could practice her English.

I have many Iranian friends, so I was not prepared for the wonderful surprise that awaited me at this shower. It was unlike the other times I had hung out with large groups of Persians before. This time it was all women, and it was wonderful! I was able to observe so many wonderful differences between their female culture and my own; differences that ought to be celebrated, and perhaps adopted.

I know that the gender issues in Muslim cultures can be a hot topic for Americans with so many of us holding to feminist ideologies. Many of us have a tendency to struggle with a Muslim woman's position in their society, in their family, and the implications of modest dress and head coverings. Many of these misunderstandings and assumptions are born out of fear and the unknown. It wasn't until yesterday that I realized I had made any assumptions about my dear friends, and wasn't until yesterday that I was finally able to see this aspect of their culture for what it is...a celebration of all things female!

While many Iranians are quite lax, there are some who hold to a more modest code of Islam. As the party progressed and more and more guests arrived I couldn't keep from chuckling. These gorgeous women would walk in covered head to foot and when the door closed the "veil" was lifted to reveal awesome party clothes, the cutest shoes, and gorgeous jewelry. I wanted to punch myself for all the times I had assumed they hated dawning what I saw as oppressive clothing, understanding now that underneath it all, they looked like absolute divas. 

Soon the food was served and morale was high. Ladies laughing, shouting, cheering, joking. There was a female comradery present that I have never felt when surrounded by a group of my own American girlfriends. It was an understanding that all the women there were strong and beautiful, successful mothers, daughters and wives. A sense of pride in unity of culture and tradition and a celebration of those things Persian. It was a safe place, a place where one could be understood, defended, and set free.

I'm sure many of my friends would be the first to tell you that like all women, they struggle with their appearance, their body type, their insecurities and their fears. Most aspects of being a women are just universal, but they seemed to have something right that I was just missing.

Tea was served, cake was cut, and Persian music was blaring. The ladies took turns dancing in the middle of the room, each cheering on their peer, whistling, chirping, laughing. It was a wonderful time to celebrate the beauty of each one. A wonderful time to see my very lovely and very pregnant friend dancing and enjoying this exciting moment in her life. I was happy to witness it all (and even happier to capture all these moments on camera)!

I left the party wanting more. More freedom with my friends. More enjoyment in who we are. More celebration in all that it means to be a woman- the success, the fertility, the beauty, the tradition, the love and the family. And most of all....more dancing.  

Question of the Day:

What are your "girl time" traditions? How do you celebrate what it means to be a woman. 
If your a man, what do you love about the woman in your life? 


  1. I'm super-excited that you're going with the haircut that I suggested!! The look is going to be perfect on you!!

    And what a great post about Iranian women. Funny how much we assume that we know, and thrilling when we have those "ah-ha" moments.

    Honestly, I think that I'm still building "girl time" traditons. For a number of years, my closest female friends have been three women who are double my age. I've valued not having the silliness and drama that is often embedded in young adult peer groups. Now, as I've made more friends of my own age, I know the type of energy that I want around me.

  2. Congratulations to your friend on her baby! How wonderful. I loved reading about the women at the shower and the fun clothes they had underneath it all. I had never really thought about that myself, but it's very cool.

  3. Awesome! Glad you're re-posting some of these! I was reading another blog and the Muslim girl expressed that when she is in her home (or among other girls/women) she can take off her headdress. I didn't even think that was an option. It definitely makes more sense to me now - and maybe we as American women should be more proper and protective in our style when we are out in public.

    My girlfriends and I hang out, watch movies, drink wine - nothing really out of the ordinary, but whenever we're together it is a good time and we always have stuff to talk about. Some of them live out of town so often times we have old-fashioned sleepovers and sleep 2 (or 3!) to a bed. It's fun and nostalgic. We also started a book club, though we aren't doing too well on it...we're on book 3 and we started back in December. Though, that's probably not too bad!!

  4. This is a great post - thanks for re-posting! I love that women around the world are all the same. It makes it so easy to relate and have real conversations, because we all struggle with the same things!

  5. Agreed with the other women, thank you for re-posting and sharing this beautiful story of friendship and women hood. I appreciate your honestly and sincerity. I too have imagined what type of clothing they were hiding under their veil, I hate to quote a movie, but SATC 2 got it right, lots of fabulousness!

    Congratulations to your friend and her growing family.

  6. This is a wonderful post! I enjoyed every part of it. Sounds like you had a great time. I think we need to embrace the differences in culture as a positive thing. We can learn so much from one another we just need to let ourselves get to that point where we truly open up to a different way of life. Congratulations to your friend!

    When I get together with my group of girlfriends we usually sit around with a bottle of wine catching up on life, reminiscing about things from the past and talking about anything and everything that comes to mind!

    Thanks again for stopping by my blog! I cannot wait to read more of yours! Happy Friday!

  7. I'm so appreciative of this post, and of you wanting to repost some that show more of your heart. I am always amazed at the free-ness of women in other cultures..actually, just other cultures in general. Because when you peel back the layers, they are almost all like that (in my own experience).
    As Americans, we have such an instinct to be better than, to compete with. I know part of that is just human, but there really is something about some other cultures where competition is a non-issue, at least among the women. It really is much more about the natural gifts they've been blessed with.
    Thanks for sharing this, it makes me think about embracing every stage of womanhood with close friends!

  8. Everyone- It seems wine plays a big role in girl time. LOL. I had a girl night on Monday and we shared a bottle of champagne in celebration of my friends birthday. We also watched Gnomeo and Juliet. We love to laugh together!

  9. This is a wonderful post. I think this post is a great example of different walks of life coming together to celebrate not only something as exciting as a baby but celebrating friendship, culture and the differences in life each one of us have. I think it is important to look past the exterior differences and understand that we are all human and we all struggle with some of the same issues!

    Congratulations to your friend!

    When I get together with my college girlfriends we usually sit around with a bottle of wine catching up on what is new in each others lives! We then usually share a few laughs about funny things from the past before settling on topics like cooking, fashion and whatever else pops into our minds!

    And again thank you for stopping by my blog! I look forward to reading more of yours!

  10. This is a beautiful and inspired post!
    you've got great friends!
    Friends are one of the best thing in the life!^^

  11. I agree! my girl time always includes wine! Is that bad? he he.

    xoxo, chrissy
    The Perfect Palette

  12. I'm so excited that you are implementing "Friday Replays"! This was a wonderful post, and I'm so glad I got to read it! Your descriptions of the party & the women are so beautiful!

    Girl time for me has always involved sitting around the table with coffee or wine, just talking for hours :)

  13. What a great post! hmmmm...our girl time usually involves coffee and lots of laughing!

  14. This is a great idea, there are a lot of posts from way back I would love to get more feedback on! what a wonderful party, those baby candles are too cute for words!

  15. oh man i love this post. growing up with iranian parents in nashville was QUITE a challenge. navigating two such opposite cultures. but at the end of the day i think it made me a much more flexible/open person. your observations on persian women were also cracking me up. :) they really are such divas, haha.

  16. Love Friday Replays and congrats to your friend. Your observations are hilarious. The little quirks in every culture are pretty funny!

  17. What a beautifully written post. It made me wish I had more female friends. I probably only have one or two close female friends and we usually hang out in a mixed group, so I don't really do "girl time" I think it's such a great idea re-posting some of your older posts, I've been through your archives a few times but it'll be nice to see your handpicked posts :)

  18. that's a gorgeous cake and i love the idea of "celebrating what it means to be a woman". we need to do that more often

  19. Hmm girl time traditions. Well generally my best friend and I do a bit of shopping while talking about our significant others. Its a good way to swap stories and get advice while doing the ultimate girl activity- shopping!

  20. it's so interesting what they hide below their veils


  21. I love learning about different cultures...you pinned these Persian ladies perfectly! My high school sweetheart was Iranian, and I always loved being a part of their traditions!

  22. Hi Hannah,

    Just to let you know that I am still on the net, albeit in slightly altered form...


    Please pop by to say hi and all will become clear ^^


  23. Such a beautiful post Hannah. I think we're all a little guilty of making assumptions about other cultures. It is good to be reminded that we are all fundamentally the same and that these differences should be celebrated! My girl time usually includes an obscene amount of wine, chocolate, comfy seating and heaps of gossip!