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.