Are the Iranians hairy

Qantara.de - Dialogue with the Islamic World

A scarf over her blonde hair, a coat over her western clothing: an Iranian woman is preparing to leave her home. The ideal of beauty in Iran is a balancing act between tradition and modernity, explains photographer Samaneh Khosravi. Many Iranian women emulate the looks of Hollywood actresses who watch them on the internet or on satellite television.

The dress code has been in place since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. It stipulates that women must cover their hair and the contours of their bodies in public. Young women in particular interpret the rules loosely. They wear headscarves, but show their hair. Here Khosravi photographed a group of friends who were walking together on Tochāl, a mountain in the north of Tehran.

Religious Iranian women interpret the dress code more strictly and often wear a chador in public. The scarf only leaves the wearer's face free. For some years, however, women in Iran were forbidden to cover themselves up: from 1936 to 1941, under the Persian King Reza Shah Pahlavi, wearing headscarves in public was not allowed.

At home the rules are no longer in force. A young Iranian woman photographs her outfit before she leaves for the party - and has to cover herself up on the way there. Although social networks like Facebook and Instagram are officially banned in Iran, many people bypass the bans. According to information from the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, around 55 percent of Iranians are active on the Internet. Even President Rouhani tweeted.

Iranian women spend a lot of money on their appearance, cosmetic surgery is booming. Every year, 60,000 to 70,000 nose operations are performed in Iran - more than in any other country in the world. Photographer Samaneh Khosravi accompanied a young Iranian woman who had just had the bandage removed. "She was very happy with the result."

"Western role models play just as important a role in the ideal of beauty as tradition," says Khosravi. Fashion is also influenced by this mix.

Many Iranian women shop on the Internet - especially when they are looking for unique pieces like this Marilyn Monroe coat. Khosravi explains: "Young designers simply publish their clothes on Facebook or Instagram and sell them from home."

Some even have beauty treatments done at home. In the picture, a woman has facial hair removed by a hairdresser and her head hair colored. "More and more women want blonde hair," says photographer Khosravi.

Samaneh Khosravi has also visited the huge beauty salons in Iran. Women do not have to cover themselves there because men are not allowed in. A regular manicure is important to many Iranian women, says the photographer: "Some prefer not to go to a restaurant for this."

With her pictures, Khosravi wants to show that even religious women in Iran do not dress according to the stereotypes widespread in Germany. "Many devout women do cover themselves up, but wear bright colors - some here think that they always walk around wearing a black chador."

But it can be useful on the way: a friend of the photographer has made up for a wedding and pulled a chador over her evening dress. She can take it off at the festival - men and women celebrate separately at weddings in Iran.

The cult of beauty is celebrated in cities in particular. "The young generation has managed to find their ideal between modernity and tradition," says Khosravi. Despite the social restrictions.