Fazaeli on Women Martyrs in Iran
Roja Fazaeli of TCD recently presented a paper entitled “Humiliated Men and Martyred Women: the War on Terror’s Implication on Redefining Middle-Eastern Masculinities” at the Feminism and Legal Theory Project in Emory Law School, Atlanta. Although there is no paper available online, Emory has fully embraced YouTube and you can view Roja’s presentation, as well as those of other participants in the conference entitled “Masculinities and the Law” online.
In the paper, Roja considers the relatively recent phenomenon of women martyrs in Iran. She notes that women martyrdom-seekers are willing to choose death for a very specific cause–they are not innocent bystanders. This is notwithstanding the fact that they live in patriarchal communities with years of war where martyrdom has traditionally been regarded as a male domain. This rise in women suicide bombers has changed the status quo image of the male martyr which in turn challenges the sexual and feminist forms usually associated with women in Iran. Roja reflects on the fact that in Iran everything is segregated except the recruitment of martyrs. Women get the same training as men in the martyrdom movement, where they are trained to be spiritually and psychologically ready for their mission. In this paper Roja explores what the rise in female martyrdom might mean for both femininities and masculinities within Iranian society.
This is a fascinating paper and, although reading conference papers is always valuable, it is great to be able to also view the sessions online for a conference that one might not otherwise have been able to access.