Okay, so this video blew my mind. It shows graduation and training exercises for the Iranian women's police force. The police force is completely segregated, with the female officers arresting women, enforcing woman-specific rules and dealing solely with "women's issues." The same position applies to other jobs, with female teachers teaching only female students and female doctors treating only female patients. Apparently (and this is something that I didn't know), the Iranian government has an attitude toward gender equality that they consider to be more progressive than that of the West: they feel that they've found a balance between women's traditional home-and-hearth roles and roles that put them in public and interacting with society (as opposed to hiding them completely from view like many other conservative religious states.
My personal opinion is that a woman's place is wherever she wants it to be. But I know that a lot of people, particularly women on the neocon side of things, feel violently different about that; their feeling (in case you've spent the past two decades in a coma and are only just now getting rid of your jackets with shoulder pads) is that a woman's only place is in the home, and that the emergence of women from said home is responsible for the decline of American society, the emasculation of our menfolk, the sexualization of our teenagers, abortion, attacks on Christianity, rising fuel prices, avian flu, and that new movie that Rob Schneider and David Spade never should have made.
- Caitlyn Flanigan thinks that women should stay home to have a hot meal ready for their husbands.
- Kate O'Beirne believes that feminists "make the world worse" and thinks that women should stay home - except for her, of course, because she's got a book tour.
- John Tierney says that women don't even really want to work outside the home.
- And there are entire forums and organizations out there busting with professional women reminding others to do as they say, not as they do.
I'm just trying to imagine the mental lockdown that has to take place when you examine your philosophy on gender roles and realize that you're ever-so-slightly to the right of the government of Iran.