By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
The Women Cultural Center (WCC)
in Tehran along with several other women organizations and groups helped arrange
a gathering for those who wished to express their disgust or dismay towards
policies for the projection of women's role on Iran's National Television
Programs. This meeting was held on
Wednesday 28th April, 5-7 pm at Tehran Press House, and despite all
odds started almost on time. One
thing that caught my attention was the significant number of men, many of them
young, who were present there. They had come to express their solidarity on this
issue, since the degrading representation of women on national TV is definitely
an insult to men as well as women.
Please note the some of the
hand-written posters, along with pictures from TV series, which were displayed
in the room.
"Some TV Time must be allocated to Civil Society & NGOs
involved in Women Issues"
"Switch off your Television, and Show your Disapproval of NIRT
"Women denounce women's roles on TV series"
The WCC Speaker at the beginning
of the meeting addressed the audience, which consisted of truly a cross section
of women (if not of Iran yet definitely of Tehran), and thanked the Reporters
Society for allowing this meeting to be held at their center. She then said that
we were there to express our objection and opposition to the unrealistic and non
artistic roles that are shown in our TV series. Yet this is not something new on
Television, no where can we see the real, active and positive roles that women
have been playing, in all aspect of daily lives, in the past 25 years, in any of
the TV programs. Television women characters have nothing in common with the
real women in our society, in social, artistic, emotional, intellectual or even
family aspects of life of the nation. This trend is a movement that reached a
point and we have a duty to bring it out into the open.
Next several women expressed
their opinion, and this has been reported -more or less- by several other web
sites (their references are given at the end). One of the speakers said that some may
wonder why we have gathered here, but their surprise is not Why Now but rather
Why Not Earlier? Indeed!
All I can say is that all types
were well represented. We had ordinary women, traditional women, modern
women, educated, less educated,
young and not very young, all saying the very same thing. All objected to the
unrealistic portrayal of themselves and their sisters, mothers, friends,
cousins, neighbors, colleagues, dreams, hopes, thoughts and aspirations on Iranian
television. All the speakers were
aware that most people watch TV not only as their main source of information but
also for entertainment. This powerful tool that indirectly teaches a particular
kind of 'moral education' can have devastating effect on minds of the most
vulnerable members of the society, mainly children and the very young. Everyone in one way or another expressed
their kind of horror of the fact that policy makers use this tool to suppress
and hold back a whole nation, via this stupid and silly portrayal of women, who
are generally represented as weak, silly, unable to think for themselves,
useless without a man, and could possibly not have inspiration higher than
having a man before marriage and then a child afterwards. Their only dream and hope is pleasing
the man of their lives. If they cannot bear a child then they must be at fault,
and must prove their love by not only agreeing but participating in finding
their husband another wife! These women even if they hold a newspaper they do
the cross-words only. They never have any serious discussion except
All types of real women of this
nation from all aspect of lives have the same agenda. They want to be taken
seriously. They are well educated if not better, and they want what is their
right, a serious place in society which they have gained with hard work and
dedication - what they need is
representation of this achievement in our national television station.
What pleased me most about this
meeting, from the beginning to the end, was not only hoping but actually
experiencing in practice and for real that women Can and Will Work together,
despite all efforts by some forces to the contrary, in order to improve the well
being of themselves, which is none other than the men of this nation and the
nation itself, given that they consist of half of the its population.
The time has come for change and
change is coming so fast that nothing can stop it now; awareness has reached the
Critical Mass! Well done to all those that who have or who will join this force,
this new fresh breeze of fresh air which soon will become a serious wind, soft
swift and effective and yes, unstoppable. Wait and see!