- By Farzaneh Milani

Words, Not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement

  • Title: Words, Not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement
  • Author: Farzaneh Milani
  • ISBN: 9780815632788
  • Page: 159
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Words Not Swords Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement A woman not only needs a room of her own as Virginia Woolf wrote but also the freedom to leave it and return to it at will for a room without that right becomes a prison cell The privilege of self d

    A woman not only needs a room of her own, as Virginia Woolf wrote, but also the freedom to leave it and return to it at will for a room without that right becomes a prison cell The privilege of self directed movement, the power to pick up and go as one pleases, has not been a traditional right of Iranian women This prerogative has been denied them in the name of pietyA woman not only needs a room of her own, as Virginia Woolf wrote, but also the freedom to leave it and return to it at will for a room without that right becomes a prison cell The privilege of self directed movement, the power to pick up and go as one pleases, has not been a traditional right of Iranian women This prerogative has been denied them in the name of piety, anatomy, chastity, class, safety, and even beauty It is only during the last 160 years that the spell has been broken and Iranian women have emerged as a moderating, modernizing force Women writers have been at the forefront of this desegregating movement and renegotiation of boundaries.Words, Not Swords explores the legacy of sex segregation and its manifestations in Iranian literature and film and in notions of beauty and the erotics of passivity Milani expands her argument beyond Iranian culture, arguing that freedom of movement is a theme that crosses frontiers and dissolves conventional distinctions of geography, history, and religion She makes bold connections between veiling and foot binding, between Cinderella and Barbie, between the figures of the female Gypsy and the witch In so doing, she challenges cultural hierarchies that divert attention from key issues in the control of women across the globe.

    1 thought on “Words, Not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement

    1. "Focusing on both sides of this ongoing struggle, this book explores two competing narratives of womanhood that exist side by side in Iran. Women are oppressed by restrictive laws and male-centered interpretations of Islamic Scripture. They are also the most vibrant forces of change. And women writers have been and continue to be at the forefront of this conflict. Breaking the spell of their textual quasi-invisibility coincidentally with breaking into the public sphere, they have made the circul [...]

    2. "In this engaging follow-up to her first novel, Veils and Words, Milani interprets women’s literature and its ability to demarcate the constraints placed on women writers in Iran and how words have the ability to reveal and conceal, connect and divide, express and repress." - Madeline Alford, The University of OklahomaThis book was reviewed in the May/June 2012 issue of World Literature Today. The full review of this book is available at our website: worldliteraturetoday/2012/

    3. When I picked up "Words, Not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement" by Farzaneh Milani,I opened it to page 29 reading "Sex segregation has had a powerful impact on Iranian literature. has shaped the language, the themes, the plots and the systems of literary representation used by men and women over the centuries." A whole new world of understanding of what I as a writer of color, a bilingual, truly multinational/multicultural/multiracial, writer, communities-based organizer [...]

    4. Quick Version:A brief survey of women in the arts, writing in particular, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and how their political climate affects their portrayal and their voice.Long Version:I was drawn to review this book for two reasons. First among them, political Islam is an area I studied, and second, women in Islamic societies intrigue me. Initially I thought that the book would discuss the works of Iranian female writers and the restrictions which their government places upon their work. [...]

    5. This book is about the history of sex segregation and the boundaries it enforced to women’s lives. It explores the movements of women writers in Persian literature and cinema in the course of centuries and how they have been challenged but at the same time able to remove some of those barriers or reshape the borders of forbidden.Milani without considering the veiling issue as a tool of political movements in a society “unveils” the history of “veil” within and beyond the Middle Eastern [...]

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