Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti is under fire after images surfaced on Tuesday suggesting she has a feminist tattoo, The New York Times reports. The popular actress, widely considered “the Natalie Portman of Iran,” was photographed at a news conference in Tehran with the suggested tattoo of a feminist symbol, a raised fist combined with the Venus symbol, on her forearm. Her latest film, The Salesman, just won two awards at Cannes Awards Festival.
The potential existence of such tattoo has prompted some to blast Alidoosti over social media: People are saying that she is pro-abortion and against the idea of family. Abortion is illegal in the Islamic republic. Alidoosti is married and has a daughter.
For most of the day, there was a major debate regarding two questions: Whether or not Alidoosti had this feminist tattoo, and whether or not she identified as a feminist. She settled the question on her stance as a feminist later that day on Twitter, but has yet to comment on the question of the tattoo, saying that it is a private matter.
She also posted an explanation in English of “The Feminist Fist.”
The word “feminist” often has a negative connotation in Iran, despite the fact that many urban Iranians support women’s rights. In the past, Alidoosti has addressed feminism publicly, sharing a post in support of gender equality on her Instagram account. This is significant, considering the women’s rights movement in Iran is virtually nonexistent. Athletes and actors/actresses have been warned by the country’s judiciary to obey Islamic values, or they will consequently face public shame.
Alidoosti stands for equality in a nation with laws oppressive towards women. While many women choose to wear a hijab, it is illegal for women to go in public without wearing one, and eight women who reportedly appeared on social media without one have been arrested. The freedom of choice simply is not there.
Alidoosti later posted on Twitter, “Feminism doesn’t mean antiman or antifamily. Feminism means that each human aside from his or her gender has the right to an individuality and according to that, to choose the life that she or he wants.”
Top image via Kleber Strelciuc for Legion Tattoo/Facebook
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