Oriental Tutorial, Preview Version, Digital Video, 2013


“In his major contribution, Fatima is Fatima ¬†(1971), Ali Shari’ati (1933-77), constructed a role model for Iranian women that would restore the moral fortitude that had been seemingly lost to overwhelming Euro-American mass consumption during the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah (r.1941-79): ‘What creatures [women] they [the monarchy] have sent to the market place [to shop}! Creatures without sensitivities, without knowledge, without pain, without understanding, without responsibility and even without human feelings. Fresh, clean dolls, ‘worthy ones.’ It is obvious what their worthiness is in and for what work. Their means of support and its derivation are also obvious. This is thrown at our women and they know why. It is because of them that “Who am I? Who should I be? is pertinent. They want a model. Who? Fatima.’ Unhappy with the status of women and government affairs in general, ¬†Shari’ati fashioned a transformed identity of the Iranian woman, whom he based on the matron of Shi’a Islam, Hazrat e-Fatemeh. In the persona of Fatemeh, a women could be strong, authoritative, moral and religious.

The Prophet’t daughter Fatemeh had assisted her father in his many ordeals and endeavors, and, in return, he showed her great respect. Her devotion to her father, her husband (the first Iman Ali) and her children, as well as her rebellion against the Sunni Caliphate, transformed her into a courageous, pious and righteous figure in Shia’s Islam.

The discourses of the Iranian revolution and the representation of Farah as the ideal Iranian woman with a more outwardly virtuous, upright one, that did not compromise the basic beliefs of Shia’s. Shari’ati repackaged the role model of Fatemeh as the image of the modern Muslim Iranian woman who did not capitulate to models based on Euro-American woman.”

In the House of Fatemeh by Staci Gem Scheiwiller.