Author(s): Rochelle Terman
The ‘woman question’ played a central role in the rhetoric and debates surrounding the Islamic Revolution in Iran, yet the precise outcome of the woman question is still debated. While some scholars argue that the revolution has repressed women by forcing them into traditional roles, others argue that the revolution has liberated women by mobilising them in the public sphere. This article claims that the revolution tried to create a female subject who was simultaneously pious and politically active, and that the creation of this particular subjectivity exceeds and defies the categories and dichotomies of earlier scholars. To make this claim, the article utilises both an intellectual history of ‘the woman question’ and the interpretivist trends of women themselves, showing how the ideal, revolutionary Islamist women was discursively produced and enforced. This unique subjectivity gives rise to a productive tension in that women are using this new identity to act in ways that are both beyond and contrary to what the Islamist regime initially anticipated. In this way, the subjectivity has destabilised so‐called Islamic norms as well as the legitimacy of the regime itself.