Women’s Bodies as Ideological Battlefields

 Jaargang 39, nr. 2   
10 minutes
By Franca Haug, English

This article investigates how Reza Shah Pahlavi’s forced unveiling policy politicized the bodies of Iranian women and examines the effects of this politicization.

In this article, Franca Haug will explore the influence Reza Shah’s veiling policy had, and continues to have, on the lives of Iranian women. She does this by investigating how the legacy of the forced unveiling under Reza Shah Pahlavi (1878-1944) affects Iranian women in the Islamic Republic today. She concludes that if women can opt to veil or unveil, this would make the cloth a symbol of women’s agency, rather than their oppression. However, as long as women’s bodies are politicized, women will remain objects through whom societies fight their ideological battles.

Franca Haug is currently doing a Master of Philosophy in Global and Area Studies at the University of Oxford. She is interested in the topics of gender, discrimination, politics, collective violence, and genocide. In 2023, she graduated with a Bachelor in History from Utrecht University.