2022 Abstracts Stage 3

A philosophical investigation into the enforcement of the veil in The Islamic Republic of Iran.

Rachael Sanders, 2022, Stage 3

On September 16, 2022, 22 year old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini died in police custody in Tehran, Iran’s capital, following her arrest for wearing her veil incorrectly. She died as a result of the strict enforcement of the veil in The Islamic Republic of Iran, a law which has been in effect since 1983. In this dissertation I conduct a genealogy of the veil in order to understand its development as a moral phenomenon, following the genealogical methodology employed by Friedrich Nietzsche in On the Genealogy of Morality. I examine the relationship between modesty, hair and sexuality in order to determine why the veil is so highly valued in Iran. I adopt Nietzsche’s theory of perspectivism in order to overcome the Western misconception that the veil is necessarily oppressive, and instead argue that it is the Iranian veiling laws which are oppressive. I then analyse Edward Said’s Orientalism, focusing on the ways in which the West has represented the East according to Said, and the implications of Orientalism for Western perceptions of the veil. I suggest the adoption of a postcolonial feminist attitude in order to redefine the problem in Iran as a feminist problem, not a religious one.

Leave a Reply