An Iranian woman, Nina Siakhali Moradi, was recently kicked out of public office essentially for being too good-looking. Moradi, who was elected earlier this summer as an alternate for the Qazvin City Council, was a beacon of hope for young women living in Iran. A country whose laws and traditions do not exactly scream “equal rights,” Moradi ran on a ticket that promised to empower young women. Her slogan, “Young Ideas For A Young Future,” clearly resonated with Iran’s younger generations, and despite older officials believing that she had no chance of winning, Moradi beat the odds and won the election.
Immediately following her surprising win, religious conservatives began to cry foul. They claimed that Ms. Moradi had run an immoral campaign and that her posters and literature were “vulgar and anti-religious.” She was accused of not “observing the Islamic norms” and was deemed a radical for refusing to wear a chador, the traditional head to toe black robe that most Iranian women wear.
Despite having been pre-approved to run for office, mere days after her win, officials overturned the results and Nina Siakhali Moradi was disqualified from serving on her City Council. Apparently, officials did not take her candidacy seriously, and so they approved this young woman, a 27-year-old grad student, to run for a seat they never truly saw her winning. The fact of the matter is, however, that she was completely qualified to run, and it is illegal for the board to overturn the results simply because they did not like the outcome.
What it seemingly boils down to is that Moradi is a threat to traditional Iranian politics; she is young, she is independent, she is female, and she is attractive. As one local politician so eloquently put it, “we don’t want a catwalk model on the council.” Ah, there it is.
Look, I’m by no means a feminist, but this is pretty fucking infuriating. This girl is being kicked out of politics because she’s too pretty? While Iran may not be as progressive as the States in regards to gender equality, they’ve come a long way in recent years. In fact, the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, recently nominated a woman, Elham Aminzadeh, to be the Vice President of Legal Affairs. Truly, the idea of females in Iranian politics is not a foreign concept. Since 1995, women have served as vice presidents, as well as members of the cabinet. So really, it seems as though the big strike against her, the one keeping her from elected office, is that she’s beautiful.
The president of Iran is expected to intervene, and it is likely that Moradi will take back the position that is rightfully hers. Still, it all just seems a little silly. Banning women from politics for being too pretty? I mean, gentlemen of Iran, come on, don’t you have bigger issues to deal with?
Image via Manchete Atual