Femine Body in the Mass Culture of Iran: between Nudity and Marginalization
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Qajars and Pahlavi
modern and modernization
female body
female breasts and decollete in Iranian culture
“Qajar decollete” as an invention of traditions

How to Cite

Kyrchanoff, M. (2021). Femine Body in the Mass Culture of Iran: between Nudity and Marginalization. Corpus Mundi, 2(3), 70-124. https://doi.org/10.46539/cmj.v2i3.42


The author analyses the problems of visualisation and marginalisation of female corporeality in developments of Iranian political and cultural identity from the early modernisation project of the 19th century and the radical modernisation of the 1920s – 1970s to the Islamic Revolution of 1979, which changed significantly the vectors and trajectories of the visualisation of the female body in public spaces and the discourse of Iranian culture. The author believes that Iran / Persia in the 19th century belonged to the number of Muslim countries that were under stable European influences. Russia and Great Britain became the main sources of cultural changes. Cultural exchange with these countries stimulated changes in Persian identity. The author analyses the features of corporeality in the visual art of Iran from the Qajars to the Islamic revolution and its mutations during the process of radical Islamisation of the social life inspired by it. The author believes that the early modern project of the Qajars was the first attempt to visualise female corporeality and map in the centre of cultural coordinates which in fact simulated European discourse. The identity project of the Pahlavi period became an attempt to transform and adopt Western concepts to the Iranian national canon. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 marginalised the visual and visible forms of female corporeality, presented earlier in public and cultural spaces. The project of Islamisation inspired subordination of the female body, marginalising attempts to visualise in ways Western intellectuals did it. Modern feminine corporeality in Iranian culture develops as a dichotomy of official religious identity and its secular alternative, represented by the “high” cultural segments of the consumer society. The author analyses how and why Western strategies of visualisation of female corporeality coexist with its religious rejection. It is assumed that the Iranian mass culture assimilated Western practices of visualising femininity, although the official cultural discourse continues to reproduce the canon of the body imagined as predominantly religious construct.

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