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titlegone with the wind

by Farshido Shirin*


*Farshido in collaboration with Shirin

Iranian women are disgraced many times by the repressive and threatening behaviour and judgment of fanatic Muslims when she leaves home, most women are aware of this fact but they rarely react. Some just suffer from it and some have adapted themselves with such circumstances and don’t bother to think about it. Living as a free individual and being able to decide what to wear and how to dress seems like a dream that may not come true soon. Here comes the question to one's mind: Whose is this responsibility to fight for fulfilment of the wish?


A few women have reacted against the repression and threats of the fanatics and religious rulership via social movements with the same target: defending human rights. One of their subsets is women's movement. Today many women are in prison, only for they are women's rights activists, just because they protest about common inequalities that relate to gender and sexist approaches of the rulers and legislators. I believe one of the best ways to give women their stolen place is through art. Feminist art is a good example for such insight.


Feminist Art has a notable history. Its early manifests go back to the 70s. Feminists had concerns about women's dignity and social status; Questions like: why women as artists are not taken seriously? Why no one sees any value in their Art? And why aren't there numerous outstanding women in Art history? Should women's Art be different from men's Art fundamentally?

"The Dinner Party", a mixed media installation by Judy Chicago, was a feministic work of Art that attracted a great deal of attention. Chicago and many other feminist artists used feminine skills like weaving and sewing as their main techniques. Feminists are also good at environmental art with theatrical elements. Among other remarkable feminist pieces "post partum document" by Mary Kelly could be mentioned. It is about the relation between a mother and her child and how society imposes separation on them, in other words it is about disintegration.


In recent years some young women and even men in Iranian art society have joined the feminist movement. However the number of these talented artists is not a big one; but they are going to increase gradually. They are not only interested in feminist art for the opportunity it creates to expand the boundaries of women's roles in the evolution of Iran’s art and culture, and to motivate the rest of the women community to believe in their potential for change and progress; but also the aesthetics and philosophy with which it comes along.

Feminism has already survived its first, second, and third waves. It has proven itself resistant to identity limits. It is no longer considered a white middle class movement; there are lesbian, black, postcolonial, as well as, Liberal, Socialist, Radical, Marxist, or cultural feminists. But there are still some feminists with a reductive attitude who are not aware of the other voices in the feminist discourse.  


One of the main proposed questions we should focus on is that do and should female artists express themselves differently from the male artists? Is femininity a significance in female artists' work and should it be? There are other important questions that can challenge some past feminist standpoints. Some experimental feminist filmmakers criticise the incessant reference to female body in many films, for they see a weaker female voice in narration. But couldn't we have a feminist interpretation of female body and its functions in a film? Couldn’t we see the role of image in narration beside language? 


In the video ”gone with the wind”, there is an Iranian woman who has suffered from male-dominated rules, social inequalities and gender-oriented treatment. She decides to respond. Other women with similar expectations and the same attitude toward women join her and follow her lead. They dance on the roofs. She gives her hair to the wind and so do the others (at the second video ”The wind blows from the East this time” ). She is whispering something to the wind. It somehow reminds a ritual to my mind. The dance, the whispers, the promise, the sacrifice, and the faith, manifest the whole thing like a ritual. May be the hair is what she sacrifices for a more important purpose. A part of her was stolen from her once, and now that part has begun a journey to the West. Let's hope the wind blows from the East this time.

 ✒︎ Adel Hashemi

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