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Camron Michael Amin - Importing "Beauty Culture" into Iran in the 1920s and 1930s: Mass Marketing Individualism in an Age of Anti-Imperialist Sacrifice - Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 24:1 Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 24.1 (2004) 79-95

Importing "Beauty Culture" into Iran in the 1920s and 1930s:

Mass Marketing Individualism in an Age of Anti-Imperialist Sacrifice

"Do You Want to Be Beautiful and Ravishing?"
Mehregan (Autumn), 16 September 19371


The economic and cultural imperialism inherent in the adoption of Western fashions and manners has been a constant theme in the history of modernization in the Middle East. Middle Eastern dreams of modernization were clearly influenced by the availability of cheaper Western manufactured goods, the development of Western technology, and the glamour of Western prosperity expressed in Western luxury good. These facts have usually been understood as unwelcome by-products of the Middle East's engagement with Euro-American hegemony since the nineteenth century and the very seeds of present tensions between East and West. The rejection of Western ideologies has been accompanied by a rejection of Western clothes by Islamic revivalists throughout the Middle East, and most emphatically in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Similarly, the ideological "fashions" of feminism, nationalism, and democracy were rejected by the Islamic Republican state as being anathema to genuine native values, or as being cultural "Trojan horses" for Western economic and political domination of Iran.

The wave of anti-American sentiment that accompanied the fall of the Pahlavi regime in 1979 created the impression that it was a new phenomenon, the angry harvest of an earlier phase of the Cold War. But Iran's culture wars over feminism in particular had a long history (going back to 1865) and a relationship with America that was longer still (back to the arrival of the first American missionaries in 1838). The history of the "woman question" in Iran is beyond the scope of this article, but one milestone, the Women's Awakening Project of 1936-1941, and its policies of encouraging (in 1935) and then compelling (in 1936) the unveiling of the women in public until 1941 (the policy was officially rescinded in 1943), must be considered critical.2 The Women's Awakening Project forced not just the issue of unveiling, but the issue of what modern Iranian women and men should look like. It added an unprecedented level of coercion to a global commercial process in which Iranian consumers were increasingly exposed to adaptations of Western marketing in the Iranian periodical press.

For most of Iran's modern history, it should be noted, "Western" meant European (including Russian). Nonetheless, American missionary educators and medical healers had a consistent presence in Iran, sometimes making a striking impact on Iran's national consciousness.3 Formal diplomatic contacts with the United States began in the late nineteenth century. But a decisive turning point in Iranian-American relations came during World War II, when some 30,000 American troops participated in the Allied occupation of Iran and the re-supply of Soviet Russia. It was in the wake of World War II that the American Legation in Tehran was upgraded to a full Embassy and the United States began to worry about its image in Iran, flying four Iranian newspaper editors to the United States in 1945 for a goodwill tour. The Azerbaijan Crisis of 1946, when the Soviets threatened to overstay their "welcome" in Iran, was one of the major catalysts that shifted the United States to a Cold War mindset. The American struggle to contain communism in Iran led to the 1953 CIA and MI-6 sponsored coup against Mosaddeq and the beginning of heavy U. S. support for the Pahlavi Monarchy. Oil and arms deals intensified the contacts between Iranians and Americans with some 30,000 Americans living in Iran by the mid-1970s and some 50,000 Iranians studying in the United States. While it is certainly true that the cultural and economic intimacy between Iranians and Americans climaxed in the political environment of the Cold War,4 the affair had already begun in the 1920s and 1930s.

In the interwar period, Iranians could take or leave [End Page 79] things American and the present study examines something of American culture that Iranians chose to take: "beauty culture." The first key observation of this essay is that the importation of Western--especially American --"beauty culture" into Iran happened at about the same time as this culture was emerging in America. Though it was not on the same scale, the pages of the Iranian press advertised and discussed "health and beauty" products and fashions in a manner similar to the American press (though European health and beauty products seem to have dominated in Iran during the interwar period). What facilitated this common global commercial culture was the Pahlavi state's Women's Awakening Project, the primary goal of which was to redefine the particulars of gender roles while preserving the essential gender hierarchy that granted special privilege to all things male. Despite this, the new Iranian genders shared many qualities: they were to be educated, patriotic, athletic, martial, socially active, and economically productive.5 The difference between genders was often a question of emphasis, as we shall see in a press discussion of marriage in the 1930s. As the Women's Awakening Project wore on, the image of modern Iranian womanhood was increasingly informed by the latest fashions and cosmetic practices of the West (usually presented as "simple" and "practical") and the ideal male image was increasingly militarized.

Nowhere was the conflation of modernization and Westernization more apparent than in the conflation of heath and beauty for Iranian women. What is surprising about this is that women in Iran were saturated in schools and in the press with ideological maxims that emphasized their disciplined progress (better mothers, better teachers, better wives, better citizens, and the list goes on). Even alternatives to Pahlavi state feminism— more independent strains of feminism, Islamic revivalism, and socialism--emphasized the responsibilities of women to a higher cause.6

The second observation of this essay is that while it is difficult to clarify the exact role of the state and Iranian businessmen in importing Western beauty culture into Iran, it is not hard to imagine its appeal to Iranian women: it seemed to deliver on a sense of personal freedom (to look and act as you wish) that was lacking elsewhere in Iranian culture. While ideologues of various stripes dismissed cosmetics and "fashion worship" (mod parasti) as corrupting threats to women's and the nation's progress, these very things became part of the popular image of the kind of woman who went places (shops, cinemas, offices) and did things (study, work, flirt) to make her life better (appropriately or selfishly).

These observations rest on a comparative analysis of "beauty culture" in the United States and Iran. This analysis is helpful because of the thorough research that has been done on "beauty culture" in the American experience, and it is compelling because of what we know about the historical process that globalizes "beauty culture," namely, that American corporations came to dominate the global "health and beauty" industry after World War II, and that the global export of American culture has become a fact of twenty-first century life. Rather than describing a simple process of cultural imperialism, the comparison of American and Iranian "beauty cultures" before World War II reveals a more complicated process in which the agency of Iranian women, the Iranian press, Iranian business interests, and the Iranian state are taken into account. Indeed, the very proximity in time of the rise of "beauty culture" in Iran and America suggests that despite important cultural differences and differences of scale, one can speak in a qualified way about a common global historical process that produced comparable reactions in the two societies.

Modernity in a Jar: Conflating Health and Beauty

The use of cosmetics by men and women is not by itself a modern phenomenon--the earliest human civilizations left records of treatments, techniques, and fashions designed to help individuals meet a standard of beauty.7 The relationship between "looking good" and "feeling good," to recall Billy Crystal's routine on the television show Saturday Night Live, is not entirely new either. What characterizes the modern conflation of "health and beauty" is that both can be enhanced by scientific progress and reflect the blessings of the modern age: prosperity, progress, and more individual liberty and leisure. We can see the beginnings of this process in the American experience and the adaptation of the process in the Iranian experience.

The modern relationship between health and beauty begins with soap and water. This relationship, though taken for granted on an almost global scale today is actually of fairly recent origin. While bathing for recreation and for medicinal purposes has been a part of aristocratic life in the West, as it had been in the Middle East for centuries, regular bathing as part of a hygienic routine was only advocated in the eighteenth century and was gradually adopted into elite and middle class life in the first half of the nineteenth century. It was in the first half of the nineteenth century that bathtubs and shower stalls began to replace or supplement washstands in middle class American households.8 And while "cleanliness" received some support as a cultural value from religion and medical research, it was not until it became recognized as a clear sign of class and social prestige that it seems to have caught on. As a marker of social superiority, cleanliness was imbued with a host of other connotations:

By the middle of the nineteenth century, among the middle class anyway, personal cleanliness ranked as a mark of moral superiority and dirtiness as a sign of [End Page 80] degradation. Cleanliness indicated control, spiritual refinement, breeding: the unclean were vulgar, coarse, animalistic. A dirty person evoked one of the most powerful social forces—scorn.9

Interest in bathing with soap lagged behind the interest in bathing. It was not until the second half of the nineteenth century that American manufacturers of soap began to make and advertise three grades of soap: two for washing clothes (sold in large cakes from which slices were cut for customers) and one for washing the body. The making of perfumed "toilet" soap had been dominated by French manufacturers and reserved for an aristocratic clientele. Popular handbooks on the domestic arts did not mention soap as part of bathing until 1826, when, for example, Anthony F. M. Willichs' The Domestic Encyclopedia said, "Of Cosmetics [sic], the only good one is fine soap, plenty of cold water, moderate exercise, moderate food and moderate passions."10 As cleanliness became a virtue and a routine, American soap makers such as Colgate and Proctor and Gamble moved to cash in. Still, of 600 soap makers in 1860, only 33 were competing with French fine soap manufacturers for a share of the American market in body soaps.11 By 1880, Colgate and Company was promoting itself as "Soap Makers and Perfumers" while doubling its production of fine soap over a two-decade period from 1870 to 1890.12 Complementing this pattern in fine soaps, in 1849 there were thirty-nine "cosmetics establishments" in the United States; the number reached 262 by the turn of the century.13

The growth of the cosmetics industry in the United States into a mass market-driven enterprise was largely the result of events in the first half of the twentieth century. It was a process through which private salon owners and inventors of cosmetic products in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries took advantage of mass production techniques of the same period and, equally importantly, joined forces with mass marketers who mastered the art of advertising in the press (and other media as they developed). In the United States, from 1900 to 1939, estimated aggregate magazine circulations went from 65,000,000 to 239,693,000 copies, or two copies for every man, woman, and child in the country.14 In 1931, the amount of space devoted to advertising was sixty-five per cent in Time, fifty-seven per cent in Saturday Evening Post, fifty-five per cent in Good Housekeeping and fifty-nine per cent in Ladies Home Journal.15 In 1935, the aggregated expenditures on the most promoted items (meaning advertising costs of $20,000 or more) in thirty-five "leading magazines" were $130,851,276. Automotive sales topped the list at $16,775,729, but "toilet goods" (a category that included personal items sold to men and women) was third with $13,628,080. If one were to construct a health and beauty category consisting of toilet goods, deodorants and antiseptics, face creams/lotions, toilet soaps, powders, rouge, and lipsticks, it would amount to $25,115,811, or 19.2 per cent of the total.16 And, from a manufacturer's perspective, who could argue with the results? In the decade from 1869-1879, American families were only spending 11.1 per cent of their income on things other than food, housing, clothing, fuel, and light. From 1930 to 1935, during the Depression, they were spending 34.8 per cent, more than they spent on the next largest category, food (32.8 per cent).17 Not all of those dollars were being spent on health and beauty products, of course; but if the 1935 figures are any indication, a sizable percentage of those dollars was going to the purchase of just such items.

The cosmetics industry in the United States certainly grew. It was the "beauty culture" created by salon owners like Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein and direct sales entrepreneurs like Madame C. J. Walker that provided the initial vocabulary for marketing cosmetics. As Kathy Peiss notes:

By drawing upon female sociability and customs ... women entrepreneurs made formerly hidden and even unacceptable beauty practices public, pleasurable, and normal. In this way, they contributed substantially to modern definitions of femininity, to the growing emphasis on making and monitoring appearance, and to the centrality of commerce in women's lives. By promoting the idea of improving upon nature, women entrepreneurs validated beauty culture for a broad range of women . . . . In the female democracy of manufactured beauty, all could improve their looks . . . . Women's commerce recognized the profound cultural differences among women. The businesswomen who addressed those differences, whether appealing to poor black women or wealthy society matrons, understood how much social origins, income, and prejudice weighed upon women who sought to remake themselves through appearance. Indeed, they built their business on that very understanding.18

Comparing the experience of Iranian women in the first half of the twentieth century with the experience of American women at the turn of the twentieth century is problematic for many reasons. Western cosmetics were more expensive for Iranian women than for European and American women. Also, the marketing of cosmetics and fashions in the West was far more integrated with the organization of retail outlets, especially in urban areas. For example, the rise of department stores in the United States at the turn of the century allowed retailers to create (and revise) elaborate displays that combined efforts to promote merchandise with efforts to promote loyalty to the stores themselves.19 Furthermore, such efforts took place in a cultural context that both retailers and consumers understood and participated in. [End Page 81]

That being said, William R. Leach notes that the consumer excitement encouraged by the retailers in the United States was ultimately dependent on women's response to their marketing efforts. Consuming had to be about more than helping Gimbels sell out of its inventory of lipstick:

The culture of consumption had a transformative effect on [American] women . . . . [Some] patterns of consumer life . . . implied a new freedom from self-denial and from repression, a liberation that promised to expand the province of rewarding work and individual expression for women.20

If this was true for working and middle-class women in America, might it not be true of middle class and elite women in Iran whose education and professional careers would familiarize them with many aspects of Western culture? Might the conflation of health and beauty—and the consumption of products and services designed to enhance both—have provided an emancipatory message for young Iranian women and girls in the first half of the twentieth century? Certainly, modernist and Islamic revivalist critics of feminism (indeed, even proponents of the Iranian government's state feminism projects) suspected as much.

The Formation of Modern "Beauty Culture"

For modernist, feminist, and Islamist opponents of Westernization, the corruption of Iranian gender roles was at worst a deliberate policy of cultural imperialism and at best a by-product of a very thoughtless process of modernization. This negative view of the process was perhaps best articulated (in the 1950s) by Jalal Al-e Ahmad's term "gharbzadeh" (or "west-struck"). A gharbzadeh man was very much like the American "plastic man" or the Beatles' "nowhere man"—a thoughtless consumer of products and ideas with no authentic identity. But Al-e Ahmad's critique was not completely unheralded. Consider this from the short-lived weekly paper, Parcham-e Eslam (Banner of Islam), in 1946:

Right from the beginning, when film and the cinema entered Islamic countries and Iran, they were introduced by operatives working with conniving politicians to destroy the foundations of our morals and religion and honor [namusi].21 This was to provoke and render the people susceptible to lust and pleasure seeking. After a time, these products found a market in our poor country and sent a flood of our money and gold overseas. For our part, cinema workers and owners saw the enthusiasm of the people and sought imported films that contained more dancing and singing and making out . . . . Thousands of innocent girls and young boys see these colorful morality-wrecking screens [that is, movie posters] on the streets. They go to this cinema and absorb these toxic images into their innocent thoughts and the pages of their pure hearts. They copy the indecencies and fashions of the stars. Indeed, some Muslim Iranian women, in order to be more civilized and modern and fashion-worshiping than even stars of the film world, retain and practice these indecencies and manners all night and day, in all settings and with all people. 22

For Islamists, this new permissive environment was the direct result of the policies of Reza Shah Pahlavi and his ban on the wearing of the Islamic veil that was vigorously enforced during the Women's Awakening Project from 1936-1941. There is also a suggestion that Iranian businessmen drove the consumption of imported films that fueled the consumption of fashionable Western clothing and styles (with implications for salon products, cosmetics, and the like). All of this was encouraged by "conniving politicians"--a very oblique reference to the Pahlavis and those who supported them in the past. It is worth noting that The Banner of Islam ran a series on the 1935 massacre at the Gowharshad Mosque in Mashhad, an incident in which religiously inspired protests against required Western fedoras for men and unveiling for women were put down with machine guns and bayonets. So one does not have to work too hard to clearly articulate the alleged conspiracy here: the old regime, allied with greedy businessmen, orchestrated an elaborate legal and economic campaign against Iranian Islamic culture for its own gain, and with the added effect of furthering Western economic penetration into Iran. In its most essential form, it resembles the critiques of the artificial creation of consumer demand for cosmetic products and fashions in the West, except with an added element of coercion of that consumer demand during the Women's Awakening Project of 1936-41.

One problem with the Islamic revivalist conspiracy theory is that the propaganda of the Women's Awakening Project and exhortations of modernist feminism were both committed to "economic nationalism" and to crafting a thoroughly moral image of modern Iranian womanhood. Indeed, this attitude was in evidence even before the Women's Awakening Project. For example, in a 1934 press debate over women's right to higher education, one male correspondent, wandering off the main issue into general cultural topics, warned of the effects of novels upon young women, "because the insubstantial yet sweet sentences attract the reader and instill inappropriate desires in her, and it is the same in the matter of cinemas. [When a] girl sees an actor who, even if he is behaving strangely is at the same time handsome, she cannot control herself. Then she wants a husband like the actor who plays these exciting roles."23 Cinemas were lumped into the same category of "corruption" (fesad) as bars, dance halls, and casinos. A double standard was in place: men who frequented these places were misguided, but the women were rebellious: [End Page 82] "Women argue how is it that men can do these things, and they cannot. They argue that men and women must be equal . . . ."24 In 1933, the semi-official almanac/yearbook, Salnameh-e Pars included this dialogue in its "housekeeping education" section:

Lady of the House to Lady Outside:25 "My dear daughter. It is not good to go to the cinema alone. I'll go with you." "No, Mother dear, in this guide to housekeeping it says that the duty of lady of the house is just housekeeping and staying in the home." "Yes, daughter dear, the condition being that the outside lady also knows her duties!"26

This vignette, which captures a "generation gap" in an amusing way, also speaks to an anxiety that youth needed to be chaperoned while indulging in modern amusements. Even without the presence of government censors, early Iranian observers of mass media understood these amusements as a tool to educate (and control) the masses. The masses could be enlightened or debased by the culture they consumed, but there was no doubt that they would consume.

In the early days of Iranian journalism, the press itself was conceptualized as a moral forum, but throughout the interwar period, even with very rigid state censorship in the 1930s, it was harder and harder to separate the commercial aspects of the press from its journalistic or didactic ideals.27 The net result was that Western style "beauty culture" was increasingly visible in the pages of the Iranian press. That being said, it is quite difficult to demonstrate whether or not this form of mass marketing was deliberately invited by state policies. Even staunch proponents of unveiling during the Women's Awakening Project expressed concern over whether or not young women in Iran were "awakening" to the correct ideals or negotiating the importation of Western ideas successfully. As one woman supporter of unveiling recalled:

In the streets they went without the chador and, indeed, wore very good clothes. They minded their clothes and unfortunately, all they took from "the equality of rights"--or perhaps they understood this from their Western sisters--is that they must be chic and make themselves up better. They never sensed how they were coming up short. They were not aware [agah].28

Unlike the American case, where the links between marketing and consumer patterns of consumption have been quantified, the economic data for the conspiracy theory articulated by The Banner of Islam is not as clear. This much can be said: there was a large jump in volume of imported goods from 1934-1935 (forty per cent by volume, twenty-five per cent by value)29 and this new level of imports was sustained or exceeded until the start of World War II. This sharp up tick in imports occurred just as the regime began its campaign to encourage unveiling in the spring of 1935. The cost of living index as it related to clothing increased faster than the general index or the indices for food, rent, or fuel/water in the period from 1936-1940.30 In the nineteenth century, Britain and Russia were Iran's dominant trading partners; but during the reign of Reza Shah, that began to change. A listing of all imports not exempt from customs duties suggests that their share of Iran's trade shrank and was redistributed among Japan, Germany, and the United States. In the five-year period from 1935-1939, the percentage of non-exempt imports broke down as follows: UK/India seventeen per cent (down from twenty-nine per cent in the previous five-year period), USSR twenty-four per cent (down from thirty-two per cent), U. S. eight per cent (up from seven per cent in the previous five-year period, and from one per cent in the five-year period before that), Japan seven per cent (actually, down two per cent from the previous five-year period), Germany twenty-five per cent (up from eight per cent) and all other countries nineteen per cent (up from seventeen per cent).31

The main U. S. exports advertised in the pages of the Iranian press in this period are movies and cars. From 1937-1947, Iranians watched 250 foreign movies per year, most from Hollywood.32 As I have noted elsewhere, it was in the 1930s that the Iranian press began to cover the film scene more actively. Rather than reviews of films, the coverage mostly involved covering Hollywood personalities (or rather, regurgitating coverage from the American and European press), with much attention paid to what they wore, ate, and used to keep looking wonderful. Interestingly enough, this sort of coverage coincides nicely with the rise of Hollywood tie-ins to health and beauty products (along with fashions) in the United States.33 The Islamist conspiracy theorists of Western cultural imperialism (though they did not call it by that name) may have been closer to the truth than they knew. That being said, U. S. State Department Records bear witness to a story of frustrated American commercial ambitions in the areas of armaments, oil exploration, and railway development.34 The quasi-official appointment of Arthur Chester Millspaugh to head Iran's treasury from 1922-1927 ended badly and does not seem to have opened any economic doors for American exporters. Diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States soured over unfavorable press coverage of the Pahlavi regime, and, for a time in the late 1930s, the Iranian Embassy in Washington, D.C. was closed. But American missionary educators continued to make an impact on Iranian culture, even introducing scouting to Iran.35 Women's Awakening propaganda was filled with images of Iranian girls and boys marching in scouting uniforms.

The economic data is suggestive, but not conclusive. No study has yet been done to understand the business [End Page 83] plans of Iran's import merchants with respect to how they decided to import products. Were they responding to consumer demand, exporter incentives/marketing, state policies, or were they keen observers of global markets? However, while we cannot verify the connections between the importation of beauty culture with American or Iranian official or corporate policies, it remains true that the view of health and beauty marketing in the pages of the Iranian press suggests that urban, middle class, and wealthy Iranian women were encountering beauty culture at about the same time as their Western sisters.36

Advertising, Cosmetics and Fashion in the Iranian Press, 1920-1945

Mehregan serves as the best Iranian analogue to American general interest magazines aimed at a teen and young adult readership. Though it did contain some of the didactic material that characterized the Iranian press in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was an unambiguously commercial enterprise with regular articles on film stars, beauty contests, and the latest trends in fashion and leisure activities. When possible, such trends were portrayed as beneficial in a scientific, proven, or "common sense" way.37 A Mehregan cover might feature the latest building in Tehran; but equally often it would feature the picture of a Hollywood movie star38 or European beauty contest winner.

The features on women's health offer some interesting conflations of athletic activity and beauty-enhancing activities--conflation clearly facilitated by glamorous tie-ins to the world of film. In "Women's Sports: Fifteen Minutes With Micheline Presle," the reader could read about the exercise routines of the "famous and beautiful" actress while viewing five pictures of her swimming, performing calisthenics, and working out with weights and heavy chains--all as part of her daily, pre-breakfast athletic regimen.39 In the cinema section, readers could see three Hollywood starlets at the pool, under the headline, "Beautiful Actresses, The Most Expert Swimmers."40 Diligent Mehregan readers would know better than to get sunburned while emulating the actresses' swim routine, because the previous year they had been treated to five pictures of a young woman demonstrating how (little) to dress and apply suntan lotion in the hard-hitting "Health and Beauty" article, "The Correct Way to Sunbathe."41 The instructions accompanying the pictures highlighted the correct ways to accessorize bathing suits with umbrellas and hats. In contrast to the other articles, this one addressed safety concerns associated with an activity whose only goal was cosmetic. These sorts of features provided the general media context in which to appreciate advertising for new Tehran salons and spas for women.42

Unfortunately for our analytic purposes, Mehregan began publishing during the government's push to remove the veil and continued throughout the Women's Awakening Project. It does not provide a useful "before and after" comparison to consider the relationship between state policy and the increase in foreign imports in the "health and beauty" or "fashion" sectors. Iran's main daily, Ettelacat (Information), does provide a continuous run from 1926 forward. Ettelacat began as a four-page paper with an estimated circulation of 2,000 per week. By the start of World War II, it had expanded to eight pages, with ads taking up between two to three pages (distributed throughout the paper), and a circulation estimated at 60,000 per week. Not quite the New York Times, but it dwarfed all competitors until Keyhan (The World) came along in the 1940s.

Before the Women's Awakening, Ettelacat rarely published pictures of any woman and never published pictures of Iranian women. Some of the foreign delegates to the Second Eastern Women's Congress in Tehran in 1932 had their pictures published, and, shortly after Reza Shah's visit to Turkey in 1934, pictures of actresses from a Turkish theatrical group visiting Iran were published. Even during the period from spring 1935 to 7 January 1936, when the government was encouraging but not compelling unveiling, the use of feminine images in advertising or news coverage did not change much from earlier practice. Even with these limitations, merchants advertising in Ettelacat could use drawings of women. When marketing clothes and cosmetics to Iranian women, merchants made the most of this loophole in editorial standards. In 1926, merchant Kontovar Raghebian's logo was a long-haired woman, with a ribbon covering her mid-section and breasts, but revealing her bare arms and legs right down to her black, low-heeled shoes.43 The ribbon bore the Raghebian name in Latin and Persian scripts. His ad in the following issue announced that he sold "durable English" products from women's undergarments to flannel.44 In contrast to the creators of beauty culture in the United States, the purveyors of modern beauty culture in Iran seemed to be men. Those advertising imported cosmetics capitalized on the exotic modernity of the West in their ad copy along with promises of preserving youth and beauty. For example, the Aristozadeh Trading Company advertised Crème Simon in the following terms:

Crème Simon soap [sic] will prevent young women from getting old and provide older women with youthful moisture, [making their skin] soft and white and lustrous.45

It is the best scientific compound for protecting the skin of the face and body, and, at the same time, it is the best cosmetic and toilet product for women who care about their enduring attractiveness.46

These ad copies were accompanied by drawings of women applying the cream in a private setting, partially [End Page 84] dressed. The women's hairstyle and the very name of the product indicated a French product that promised, by virtue of its "scientific" formulation, healthy and beautiful skin. By imagining a woman in a private setting, the ad was allowing the sexes to mingle in the public imagination, a seductive commercial message that pre-dates the propaganda offensive of Women's Awakening propaganda by almost ten years. If skin cream was the core of modern Western beauty culture, it was no less so in the pages of the Iranian press. For good or for ill, Iranian merchants were facilitating Iran's introduction of Western consumer habits in the "health and beauty" sector, and they were doing so at very nearly the same time the process was taking hold in the West. The issue of Iranian money being wasted on foreign luxury items had been debated in the press and the higher circles of government for decades prior to the rise of modern beauty culture. In the 1880s, the Qajar monarch Naser al-Din Shah had formed an Assembly of Merchants to study the issue of important substitution of economic development. As reported by Ectemad al-Saltaneh, it was a prominent merchant (and supervisor of the Mint) who cut through all the ideological posturing about the need to keep foreign imports out by "asking what goods and industries of our own do we have so as not to need foreign ones."47

Of course, there were domestic and traditional cosmetics makers in Iran in the 1920s and 1930s, but even they responded to the demand for things Western, if only to counteract them in some way. In 1930, Modern Pharmacy advertised a "natural cosmetic," khezab (henna formulated as a hair dye), because "the best natural hair for an Iranian is black."48 Customers could buy in bulk and try a free sample to verify the claim that their product would dye hair of the head, face, and body in ten minutes--a modern, efficient spin on a traditional product. Its logo, a woman combing black color onto long locks of white hair was "registered at the Ministry of Commerce," as if to back up the full faith and credit of the modern Iranian state. In 1932, a Tehran company, Sohrab Perfume Factory, advertised its own lemon "eau de cologne" to "relieve your nerves of stress."49 In 1938, in the pages of Mehregan, the Sohrab Perfume Factory began to market an imported brand of skin cream, "Asidan's Secret of Love Cream (krem-e asrar-e ceshq-e asidan)" to individual customers but also to other retailers.50

All this marketing was done without having (or being able) to show photographs of actual women, foreign or Iranian. However, within a few months after 7 January 1936, alongside images of Iranian girl scouts, students, professionals, and athletes—all of which were presented in the context of creating a certain image of modern Iranian womanhood--there appeared also advertising and "human interest" pieces that blurred the lines between commercial exploitation of women's images and promoting the Women's Awakening Project. A 1936 advertisement for Smith Premier typewriters published by the Vakili Company featured a picture of a slender woman in a skirt and blouse, with a pearl necklace and a bob haircut happily applying her makeup while a thick, freshly-typed manuscript rests on her lap.51 A typewriter, somehow with a vase of flowers on top of it, sits on the desk next to her. The image implied, "You'll finish your work so fast that you'll have time to powder your nose." On the other hand, there was a general message, one in full keeping with the stated goals of the Women's Awakening: "Women are to be employed in the office." Women were officially denied access to government clerical jobs until the Women's Awakening Project when they were actively recruited and celebrated in these roles.52 This ad acknowledged a new reality in Iran, one that would begin to define in Iran (as had already begun to happen in the West), some clerical tasks as "women's work." Like many ads at this time, the Vakili Smith Premier ad sought distributors for the product.

In the pages of the press, women became visible consumers of a variety of products. It was only after the Women's Awakening that merchants such as the Mohammadzadeh Brothers could run a photograph of a woman wearing only her undergarments with the announcement, "Great News, honorable ladies, the best English women's corsets that you've been waiting for have arrived."53 New automatic transmission cars ("REO self-shifters") were advertised by the Mashcal and Associates, Co. with a photograph of a well-dressed woman at the wheel.54 Fashion was even integrated into the propaganda of the Women's Awakening--which ostensibly was trying to promote simplicity in appearance and wholesome athleticism in modern Iranian womanhood. Under the headline, "At the Seaside" a text read, "In the summer, European men and women mostly travel to the seaside. They reside there for a while and participate in a variety of sports. The photograph above depicts women in their exercise clothes."55 Of course, the three women depicted were in fashionable bathing suits, simply lounging on the beach. And, of course, it was not just women who were being coaxed and compelled into Western clothing and manners. Ministers and parliamentary deputies could add the new clothing they would have to rent or buy for official receptions of major foreign representatives to accompany the fedora they (and all men) were required to wear in public life since June 1935. The new clothing (and behavior) protocols at court were announced on the front page of Ettelacat on 10 September 1936.56 The "salam" uniforms were clearly modeled on styles current at the British Court. Indeed, the Court of Reza Shah, as I have noted elsewhere, was eager to present its modernized manners and appearance to foreign diplomats at [End Page 85] formal dinners and on grand occasions such as the marriage of Crown Prince Mohammad Reza to Egyptian Princess Fawzia in 1939.57

As Jasamin Rostam-Kolayi has noted, both independent publications like the feminist cAlam-e Nesvan [Women's World] in the early 1930s and semi-official (or heavily censored) publications like Salnameh-e Pars [The Pars Yearbook] took part in a campaign to educate Iranian women on a new look for a new era--a look in which cosmetics, Western hairstyles, and sensible fashion were part of a sensible and becoming uniform of modernity.58 The fashion sensibilities of American missionaries were felt both through their roles as educators for many upper-middle class and elite women and through their sponsorship of cAlam-e Nesvan, the longest running women's magazine in Iran before World War II. As Rostam-Kolayi recounts the coverage of health, beauty, and fashion in cAlam-e Nesvan in the early 1920s, it provided mixed messages about indulgence and discipline:

[Numerous] articles in the "Clothesmaking" section of the journal . . . endorsed cost-cutting measures such as making one's own clothes and updating old clothes to fit new styles. . . . For those who could afford the expense, advertisements for women's dress- and hat-makers in Tehran, featuring the latest "Paris and London styles" were published . . . . Acquiring new fashions should not come before "buying books, helping with a child's education, and giving to the poor." . . . . cAlam-e Nesvan stressed the importance of personal hygiene and an attractive appearance in a series of articles entitled "A Well-Liked Woman." Readers learned that a modern woman was nice-looking, healthy, well-dressed, sociable, lively yet serious and young in heart and mind. She bathed regularly and cleansed her face and hair, while keeping fit and exercising daily. . . . Every woman had the potential to be beautiful with a little help from cosmetics. Moreover, the use of powders, creams and skin-care products was not seen as frivolous or immoral, for "women in the French and American revolutions wore cosmetics."59

Women's Awakening propaganda always emphasized "simplicity" and "fitness" (rather like Willich's The Domestic Encyclopedia cited at the beginning of this article). Indeed, Hajer Tarbiyat, a long time feminist and member of Reza Shah's Women's Society, denounced the veil as the effective antithesis of modern clothing because it prevented women from exercising and thus sapped their physical and moral strength.60 And yet, it is clear that what was often promoted as the clothing of modern Iranian womanhood was often more glamorous than practical. Yes, the government was forcing women to take off their veil, but it was not as draconian in enforcing a particular code of Westernized fashion. In this one aspect of obedience to state rules on unveiling, there was some choice. The restrictive veiling and seclusion of tradition in Islamic revivalist harangues about women's appearance were countered in Women's Awakening propaganda with equally didactic feminist and official harangues about the modernity and progress unveiling was supposed to encourage among Iranian women. But unlike forced unveiling itself between 1936-1941, these were just harangues. The Western "beauty culture" advertising that was adapted into the Iranian press during late 1930s was replete such suggestions of choice and invitations to indulge personal desires.61 If feminine individuality could be mass-marketed to American or European women with success, why not to Iranian women who otherwise had only duty-laden "emancipatory" ideologies to choose from?

Reading Freedom Into Western Imperialist "Beauty Culture"

The pages of Mehregan were filled with advice for young people (especially young women) on how they should appear as well as how they should behave and feel. Nowhere was this more evident than in discussions of marriage. Attracting and choosing a mate were assumed to be universal impulses that had to be regulated and harnessed for the good of society and the young lovers themselves. Mehregan asked young men and women to respond to a questionnaire about their ideal mate. The questionnaire was introduced with manufactured responses by stereotypical foreign women (the images of whom were clearly appropriated from the sort of Hollywood imagery Mehregan featured regularly). Women were first asked to respond to the questionnaire, and their images and responses were published.62 Then men's images and responses were published, as if in response to the young women.63 The three questions that touched on appearance were, "Must he/she be good looking?" "Must he/she be well dressed?" and "What [other] characteristics should he/she have?" The last question was open-ended, but drew some responses that related to appearance. Marziyeh Taheri wanted her man to have a "good body (khush andam [bashad])" and for his clothes to be "sporty and clean." Indeed, all nine women wanted their men's clothes to be clean, one emphasizing that "being clean and well-groomed is necessary for men [too]." Four of the women emphasized that the man's clothes be "simple" (one offered "simple and military"). So, in the end, only two women, Ms. Taheri and Ms. Shamsi Sacid, suggested in any way that men be specially groomed or have distinctive (civilian) styles of dress. As for looks, four of the women indicated that a man's looks were not that important, and to that number we might add Ms. Mahindokht Khaza'el who said, "His face should not be repulsive," Ms. Mocazameh Nezhadpak, who insisted that "He should look like a man (qiyafeh-ye mardaneh dashteh bashad)," and Ms. [End Page 86] Mahin Damghanpur, who dodged the question, responding that "He should have a good character." Nezhadpak's sense of what a man should look like becomes clearer in her response to the question of other ideal characteristics for her man. She responded, "He must be an athlete." Indeed, the two other women who expressed a preference for the appearance of their man focused on the body. This complements the martial image and values these women said were desirable in men. All women valued "patriotism" in their mates and listed "treason" as the main fault to be avoided, with Ms. Damghanpur offering that, "He should consider the battlefield his place of recreation (tafrih-gah)."

Five of the men said their ideal women would be athletic or have good bodies. One of those five, Kazem Simjur, put it this way, "She should be very good looking in addition to having a good, athletic body." A sixth young man, Hushang Nabavi, responding to the question on looks, simply said, "Certainly." Hasan Naderi just asked that she "not be ugly" and Nasrallah Shifteh, who went on to become the journalistic colleague (and biographer) of the fiery newspaperman, Mohammad Mascud, suggested "If she is not beautiful she should be cute (banamak)." On the question of clothing, six of the men seemed to want a woman with a sense of style, some being rather specific. Mr. Ahmad Eqbal wanted his wife to be "simple and clean, but sporty." Simjur wanted "simple but well-made" clothing. Six men talked about simplicity and cleanliness, one emphasizing that "She should wear clean clothes but not worship luxurious [clothes]."

These responses certainly do not amount to a scientific survey, and they were likely selected to reflect the social sensibilities of the editorial staff of Mehregan (and the priorities of the Pahlavi State).64 But there is sufficient variety in the responses to suggest that we might think of these eighteen young men and women as analogous to a modern-day "focus group" and the presentation of their perspective as analogous to the use of testimonials in advertising. 65 What we can surmise from the responses is that while both sexes were expected to be fit and clean, urban and middle class women were expected more often to be beautiful and fashionable in addition to being healthy. Though health and beauty are conflated, it is clear that feminine beauty does not come from exercise alone--there is a sense of style they must be conscious of and their face (which cannot be whipped into shape as their bodies can) must be attractive somehow. It is too bad that the questionnaire did not press for more details on ideal appearance or more personal details on the respondents (age, income, education, and so on). The men and women who wrote in to Mehregan may have had their ideas harnessed to sell papers and to reinforce some normative qualities that the Pahlavi state wished to foster in Iranian society. But what was conceded to them was their right to select a wife/husband directly and to articulate their preferences in this regard.

The consumption of modern products and ideas (be they foreign or domestic in origin) was something in which all Iranians participated. Even a state like the one commandeered by Reza Shah, which could and did compel all sorts of activities, also tried to persuade its subjects/citizens using appeals to sentiments it had every reason to believe (based on decades of public discourse) many Iranians had - especially those young Iranians it was endeavoring to educate.

It is not too hard to demonstrate the oppressive aspects of Islamic revivalist, Pahlavi renewalist (tajaddod-parvar), Socialist, and even feminist ideology with regard to women's progress. In all cases, women were required to discipline themselves in order to effect their own progress or that of the nation or other "higher" cause. The exhortations were to learn more, train more, and to resist all forms of temptation and corruption. On the question of veiling and seclusion, the Women's Awakening had only substituted the "firm internal veil of morality"66 for the external one, its propaganda emphasizing its greater efficacy in controlling women's sexual behavior. Controlling one's appearance and one's behavior was primarily associated with the hygienic demands of the conflation of "health and beauty."

Ads for cosmetics or clothes, on the other hand, were unselfconsciously about indulgence and, if you had the money, choice. They also tapped into some of the same anxieties feminists had traditionally spoken to: coerced marriages, divorce, polygamy, and the absence of other avenues of financial support besides marriage and inheritance. In the very first Iranian women's magazine, Danesh [Knowledge], a "girl educated in Europe" in 1911 looked forward to an age when a women's education would liberate her from fears that, as she aged and became less attractive, her husband would replace her.67 Her education would, in effect, keep her attractive and interesting (and thus useful) to her husband and turn back the effect of time. In this sort of argument for women's education, knowledge was a cosmetic.

The license to discuss how one should dress, exercise, study, think, and interact with others was presumed by all participants in the press to be under the anxious gaze of Pahlavi and Islamic Republican policy makers as Iranians were charged with improving themselves to demonstrate Iran's modernity to the world. It was in this context that feminist activists challenged Iranian women to improve themselves to show Iranian men that they were worthy of more rights and responsibilities. Sadiqeh Dowlatabadi (1882-1962), journalist and feminist activist, had served on the board of directors of the Women's Society (kanun-e banovan) established during the Women's Awakening Project and she continued her efforts [End Page 87] after the collapse of the Women's Awakening Project by reviving her first magazine in 1919, Zaban-e Zanan [Women'sVoice], in 1942. Dowlatabadi struggled to retain the enforced cohesion of the feminist movement during the 1930s (without success) by reiterating the sober and serious discourse of women's improvement through education, the centrality of motherhood in women's lives, and loyalty to the Pahlavi Court while criticizing the Majles (parliament) for failing to respond to the women's suffrage campaign launched by the political left in late 1943. Zaban-e Zanan was not going to be bothered with frivolous discussions of women's beauty and fashions (in contrast to the short-lived women's magazine cAlam-e Zanan [Women's World] of 1944, which mingled its serious content freely with images of Western glamorous beauty). In Zaban-e Zanan's world, looking good was simply a by-product of healthful living and discussed only grudgingly:

Because Zaban-e Zanan has been designed for ladies and young women (banovan va dushizehgan) and our purpose is to guide them in all social matters, we shall try as best we can to include an issue that draws ladies' attention. It is in each woman's nature [to believe] that the pursuit of beauty is good and to always prefer to look more beautiful than she is and to improve upon her god-given beauty in accordance with the customs of her time. In order to satisfy our valued readers we have to consult the experts of this art [i.e., cosmetology] and have obtained advice from each of them and will publish their instructions in each issue. But before all this, one must take note that cosmetology will be useful to ladies who first take advantage of the benefits of being healthy. They should first acquire this true beauty so that they can easily improve upon minor defects.68

True to her word, Dowlatshahi kept Zaban-e Zanan's cosmetological advice practical and rare.69 In some cases, the articles were translations from European and American women's magazines, illustrating how Iranian feminists, like other ideologically motivated Iranians, were careful importers of Western culture70 —recognizing and borrowing from kindred spirits when possible or carefully editing content when necessary. We also see evidence in the press itself that consumers were understood by the press to have the ability to critically evaluate advertising. Editors occasionally used that assumption to remind women of the "decent" standards of modern consumption they were to uphold despite the fact that the temptations to consume more were offered by the editors themselves.

For example, in 1942, Salnameh-e Pars ran a lipstick advertisement as part of a contest. In the foreground of the ad was a woman in profile, applying lipstick while looking in a compact mirror. The brand of the lipstick was obscured and the original copy was absent. But the contest asked readers--specifically women--to focus on the images:

An intelligence test for ladies: this is an advertisement but, at the same time, it contains superfluous elements. The woman who answers most succinctly, precisely and quickly will receive a cash prize of not less than 100 rials [about $ U. S. 1.50 in 1941].71

The woman in the ad had earrings, a necklace, a bracelet, and a ring. She also wore a stylish hat and gloves. In the background was a photograph of the Venus de Milo, reminiscent of the Tangee logo (which combined the Venus de Milo with the Statue of Liberty) in their lipstick advertisements in the American press during this same period. It is not clear what answer Amir Jahid, the editor and publisher of Salnameh-e Pars, was looking for, but it likely had to do with the excessive luxuries and inappropriate nakedness of the statue. The "contest" clearly assumed that readers could deconstruct the elements of a print advertisement and, therefore, credited its readership with some sophistication about these things. But if one considers the ad within the context of Salnameh-e Pars' handling of "health and beauty" and "fashion" and the general press coverage of such topics in the 1940s, a deep suspicion of women's sexuality and bid for independence from men emerges.

First, Salnameh-e Pars' coverage of women's fashion continued to expand in the 1940s,72 and, like the coverage of women's "health and beauty" in Mehregan in the 1930s, tended to discuss women's athleticism in the context of sportswear for women. The most bizarre example of this is a picture of a young model in a bathing suit by a lake, aiming a rifle at some unspecified target out in the distance.73 There was a striking set of cartoons interspersed among the articles on fashion and health in 1943, a more graphic rendering of the "humorous" vignettes in the "guides to housekeeping." One depicted a man and woman, sitting on a couch with a painting of a nude woman on the wall above the couch. The man is in a coat and tie, the woman in a dress that reveals her arms and legs; her hand is on his shoulder and the caption reads, "I was ready to accept a marriage proposal but what can I say (cheh carz konam)?"74 In another, a man in a suit is holding a woman in Western dress up against wall, pressing close against her. With a nonchalant expression, she says to him, "Too bad that our legal marriage ages are a few years off."75 In another, a young woman is standing outside in a short-sleeved blouse and short skirt asking, "What is wrong with me that people keep staring at me?"76 In another, an older woman enters a room to find a younger one sitting there; both are in fashionable Western clothing. The older woman says, "What do you want with my husband?" And the younger responds, "Some money or for him to divorce [you]!"77 Another cartoon depicts a woman in a short-sleeve blouse and skirt and necklace [End Page 88] kicking a man in a suit down a flight of stairs, his fedora flying off. With a happy expression, she shouts, "Get lost, buddy, and find some money--getting a wife costs [a lot] these days!"78 Yet another depicts four pairs of crossed women's legs, uncovered from the hem of short skirts down to their shoes. The caption reads, "Short clothes, and naked legs--especially in cinemas and carriages (doroshkeh)."79

The social chaos depicted here is clearly associated with the attitudes of women, as expressed by their words, actions, and attire. Remember, these cartoons appeared alongside articles and photographic series that featured Western fashions in a positive and glamorous light. On occasion, Salnameh-e Pars would critique a fashion, rather like the "fashion police" in People Magazine, but for the most part, the fashion/health and beauty sections were presented without irony, describing the clothes as "simple" (sadeh) or implying a certain practical functionality, i.e., "wear this to play tennis." So the negative commentary in the cartoons existed alongside the positive presentations--an arguably schizoid cultural environment that might be considered unique to Salnameh-e Pars if it were not for the fact that the rest of the press generally shared this same attraction/repulsion to the Western cultural influences and the modern Iranian women who seemed drawn to them. Even satirizing Western fashions afforded wily publishers a chance to print them. The commercial value of "beauty culture" overrode moral objections for most male publishers. For the editors of women's magazines, there were two responses: to ignore such fashions (and the advertising that promoted them), like Zaban-e Zanan, or to embrace them, like cAlam-e Zanan.

As observers of Iranian feminism (including myself) have emphasized, it was not until World War II that "equal rights feminism" was debated widely in Iranian society. The emphasis was on a version of "complementary rights" feminism in which women were to receive better treatment as junior partners in grand nationalist, socialist, or Islamic revivalist projects. The voices in the wilderness for women's independence from and equality with men in Iranian society were simply drowned out by a "patriarchal consensus," to use Parvin Paidar's term. While it is clear that much of the expansion in women's freedom was gained by women who honestly or tactically worked within a framework of male guardianship (as I have argued), perhaps it is time to reassess the significance of those voices in the wilderness. At a minimum, they are evidence that a few women such as Shahnaz Azad, Zandokht Shirazi, and Taj Homa, thought about gender equality enough to advocate it publicly, at least once. Furthermore, even sober, largely "complementary rights" feminist magazines like cAlam-e Nesvan would publish such views occasionally.80 Furthermore, most feminists did idealize "equal rights" enjoyed by women in American and Europe. In addition, the main issues of complementary rights feminism - education (especially higher education), marriage reform, and increased employment opportunities — did speak to a measure of individual autonomy for women in choices they made about how they served society (as productive citizens or scientific housewives).

The fashions and cosmetics that Iranians could see advertised directly or in the context of films and even literature defined a world in which women would socialize more freely with men and be out in public places: shops, schools, and offices. The 1930s propaganda of the Women's Awakening had endeavored to make the case that veiled women could not enter public places successfully and encouraged women to shed their "outer veil" for an "inner one." The difference between the propaganda of the Women's Awakening and the Western images it tried to edit or recreate in an Iranian context is that the Western images often derived from sources that sought to embolden consumer initiative in the West. The ads were about individual indulgence that involved redefining behaviors in the Western context. "Beauty culture" made applying make up, dressing up for public life - behaviors once considered inappropriate and shameful - harmless and appropriate for modern times. It seems that those messages resonated more with the Iranian public than did stern lectures from feminists, modernists, leftists, or Islamic revivalists about a disciplined, collective modern response to Western cultural imperialism and economic encroachment. And perhaps they do still.

Epilogue and Conclusion

In the thoughtful and serious world of academia, the magazine Zan-e Ruz [Woman of the Day],81 is a fascinating window on the debates between Pahlavi modernist feminism and what became Islamic Republican feminism. Zan-e Ruz covered the 1967 Family Protection Law, which gave women better protection against divorce. As it had done with the law granting women access to higher education in the 1930s, the Pahlavi regime had actually begun discussing the issue in the press (and allowed some parliamentary discussion) before its passage. So, as part of its coverage, Zan-e Ruz had engaged the opinion of the clerical community in 1966, resulting in a series of forty articles by Ayatollah Morteza Motahhari. These articles were compiled into a book in 1974 called The System of Women's Rights in Islam, which, as Ziba Mir-Hosseini ably argues, became the blue-print for the official stance of the Islamic Republic towards women, justifying "apparent" inequities within a larger system of complementary gender-coded rights and responsibilities.82 After the revolution, Zan-e Ruz was made to conform to Islamic Republican standards of feminism. Shahla Sherkat, the Editor-in-Chief of Zan-e [End Page 89] Ruz since 1982, was dismissed from the magazine in 1991 and founded a new periodical, Zanan [Women], which is affiliated with cAbd al-Karim Soroush's reformist Kiyan organization.83 Zanan has consistently offered an "equal rights" perspective to feminist issues in Iran, from the problems of spousal abuse, to the right of women to be leaders of political and Islamic legal matters.84

It would be a mistake, however, to leave Zan-e Ruz, or Zanan for that matter, only in the domain of political and social activism. Zan-e Ruz, in its original incarnation, was part of the Keyhan publishing group. Keyhan was the second major daily newspaper in Iran, competing with the older Ettelacat. While it is fair to say that both newspapers had a cozy relationship with the Pahlavi State, Ettelacat was founded by cAbbas Mascudi in 1926, the first year of Reza Shah's reign, while Keyhan was founded by Mostafa Mesbahzadeh in 1942 with a huge subvention from Mohammed Reza Shah (who came to the throne in 1941). Even with that support, Mesbahzadeh, a lawyer by training, needed to make Keyhan a commercial success and this he did unabashedly - claiming to be the first to offer advertising at the top of the front page, near the headlines.85 As Keyhan expanded from a paper to a publishing group, Zan-e Ruz was established and clearly reflected the commercial instincts of Mesbahzadeh. Along with sober articles on women's issues came lots of advertising and regular features on fashions and health and beauty products.

There were some noticeable changes from the press of a generation earlier. Iranian pop stars like Gugush appeared on the cover as often as American or European stars and perhaps more than the royal family. Iranian-made (or Iranian-assembled) products were advertised alongside Western and Japanese imports. In contrast to the 1930s when American beauty products seem not to have been available (despite the Hollywood tie-ins), the 1970s choices included not only Revlon lipstick and eye-shadow, Chap-Stick, and Colgate shampoos but also products by German companies, such as Schwarzkopf (acquired Henkel KgaA in 1995),86 Wella,87 and Nivea,88 and the relatively more recent English cosmetic line of Mary Quant. There were also signs of a home-grown health and beauty industry (e.g., Paveh toothpaste) and the Iranian import companies (such as Tidi) adapted Western ad copy for the Iranian market.

The general framework for importing (or growing) Iranian beauty culture was clearly set in the 1920s and 1930s only with an expansion of the space in which Iranian women travel (Nivea ads were set on beaches) and a longer list of things she might have. Miss Iran in 1975, Shohreh Nikpur, won a tour of Latin America, $2,000 (not rials!), a ruby ring, and a gold watch. She was pictured on the cover of Zan-e Ruz with a "chic and fast" Mazda 808, given to her by the Iran Kala Sistematik Company.89

Unlike the 1930s, though, the open hostility to things Western was reserved for intellectual critics like Jalal Al-e Ahmad and the Islamist opponents of the Pahlavis. If the press is any guide, the Pahlavi State in the 1970s was not particularly bothered by consumption of Western goods and services. Oil wealth had made it possible for some to prosper in this international market. In the context of "health and beauty" specifically, occasional articles on the perils of "Western beauty" focused on the cost to individual women rather than the threat posed to the nation economically or morally.90 If a woman could not vote her mind, she could, at least, find the right shade of lipstick.

This may seem like a glib observation, but this notion of "personal freedom" as expressed in the consumption of Western goods is causing real concern among Islamic Republican hardliners today, and providing the emotional charge to rally young people to the cause of political reform in Iran. Robin Wright, who takes full measure of the serious debates, street battles, and repressive response of the Islamic Republican state provoked by demands for political and economic reforms in Iran, also took note of a consumerist expression of these tensions in the year 2000:

And it [northern Tehran] could have been anywhere in the world. Changes were visible everywhere I turned. On a triad of billboards, huge ads for Nokia mobile phones and Cartier watches flanked a billboard heralding Ayatollah Khomeini's hundredth birthday. Digital movies on sale at Tehran shops ranged from Saving Private Ryan starring Tom Hanks to Men in Black with Will Smith, from Julia Roberts and Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory to Tommy Lee Jones in U. S. Marshals. At Ferdowsi Park, I chatted with a fifteen-year-old girl named Tahmineh whose idea of Islamic dress was an oversized black sweatshirt that reads PLANET HOLLYWOOD-LAS VEGAS and a long black skirt. And cyber cafés had become the rage. Ravenous for relief from revolutionary rigors, Iranian society was turning to entertainment and consumer goods. And globalization was changing the face of Iran as much as it was most other countries.91

I would amend this observation by saying, "And globalization continues to change the face of Iran in the Islamic Republic, along the same trajectory established in the late Qajar and Pahlavi periods." Although there is very little that Islamic Republicans would claim to have in common with the Pahlavi State in the 1920s and 1930s, they share at least two things: an anxiety about Western hegemony and a desire to reform Iranian society by engaging the "the woman question." Furthermore, their varied ideological responses to these preoccupations have met with competition from Iranian [End Page 90] consumer appetites that are growing, modernizing, and increasingly cosmopolitan. The case explored here--the persistence of Iranian society's interest in importing, marketing, and consumption of modern fashions and health and beauty products--suggests that Iranian society experienced the "beauty culture" phenomenon at about the same time as the United States--though on a lesser scale and, in the 1920s and 1930s, with a greater preponderance of European products. Furthermore, the active consumerism of Iranian women in this case provided an alternative (if not an antidote) to the ideological urgings of the Pahlavi state towards a disciplined path of nationalist progress. These same consumerist impulses seem to be working more symbiotically with the reformist opposition to the Islamic Republican state. The Islamic Republic tries to engage the cultural waves from outside with "Islamic" fashion shows and offers veiled "Sara" dolls instead of Barbies even as it engages in the worst sorts of political repression against its opponents.

There is more we need to understand, however. To fully appreciate processes like the importation of "beauty culture," we need to learn more about how business was conducted in Iran and how foreign businesses approached potential markets like Iran. A broader comparative study of press and media advertisements may reveal more about the process, but there are two areas of exploration that need development even more urgently. Historians must seek access to corporate archives (Iranian and foreign) and must try harder to record the oral histories of Iranians who lived through the early stages of Iran's modernization. It may not be an easy task to gauge consumer attitudes through oral history and interviews. I e-mailed some dear cousins to ask their mother if she could recall the "health and beauty" products from her youth. They quickly assured me the only response I would receive to my improvised questionnaire would be that those who do not use cosmetics cannot comment on their own brand preferences. So I asked them to ask their mom, who was born in 1924, if she might recall what her friends used. She recalled that European cosmetics began to replace those produced by local attars (perfume manufacturers) in Tehran as she entered her teens and that it seemed to coincide generally with Reza Shah's reign, though of course she could not remember brand names or any American products.92

This recollection corroborates, in very broad terms, the narrative that emerges from advertising in the Iranian press.93 It also raises an important comparative question that was not explored here: what does "Europe" mean in global culture and how has that meaning changed? Middle Eastern occidentalism had long distinguished between "yeni donya" (the new world)94 and Europe. It also made distinctions among various European cultures and countries. Might American marketers and Iranian consumers have had similar impressions of Europe and things European? Another analytical thread that needs to be picked up is a comparison of Iranian "beauty culture" with that in the Arab and Turkish world in the modern Ottoman and post-Ottoman periods. Perhaps this preliminary study will interest my colleagues in Middle East Studies to investigate these questions further.


1. For a reproduction of this anonymous article, replete with images of American and European starlets, see Camron Michael Amin, The Making of the Modern Iranian Woman: Gender, State Policy and Popular Culture, 1865-1946 (Gainesville, FL: The University Press of Florida, 2003), 209.

2. The best concise overview of this event is Houshang Chehhabi, "The Banning of the Veil and Its Consequences," in The Making of Modern Iran: State and Society Under Reza Shah, 1921-1941, ed. Stephanie Cronin (London: Routledge, 2003), 193-210.

3. Here, two American deaths may serve as examples. Howard Baskerville died fighting with pro-Constitutionalist forces near Tabriz during Iran's Civil War in 1909. In contrast, American consul (and anti-bolshevik, spy adventurer) Robert W. Imbrie was killed by an angry mob in 1924 when he made the mistake of photographing a religious procession near a shrine in the midst of anti-Baha'i frenzy sponsored by the Iranian government to curry favor with religious conservatives. See Michael P. Zirinsky, "Blood, Power, and Hypocrisy: The Murder of Robert Imbrie and American Relations With Iran, 1924," International Journal of Middle East Studies 18 (1987): 275-92, and (19 July 2004).

4. Indeed, the collapse of the Shah forced American policy makers to reckon not only with the Islamic revivalism in Middle Eastern politics, but with the question of how, despite all the connections between America and Iran, American policy makers were so surprised by events in Iran in 1979. The answer, in a textbook case of Foucaultian irony, is that, in part, American commercial appetites and focus on leftist threats to Iran's "stability" blinded analysts and journalists alike to the realities of the political situation in Iran. See William A. Douram and Mansour Farhang, The U. S. Press and Iran: Foreign Policy and the Journalism of Deference (Berkeley: The University of Californian Press, 1987) and James A. Bill, The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy of Iranian-American Relations (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988).

5. Camron Michael Amin, The Making of the Modern Iranian Woman.

6. Parvin Paider argues for the existence of a "patriarchal consensus" among these various groups which circumscribed women's progress on a variety of fronts. See Paidar, Women and the Political Process in Twentieth Century Iran (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

7. See Richard Corson, Fashions and Makeup: From Ancient to Modern Times (London: Peter Owen, 1972). For a full discussion of traditional Iranian cosmetology through the nineteenth [End Page 91] century, see Fatemeh Soudavar Farmanfarmaian, "Haft Qalam Arayish: Cosmetics in the Iranian World," Iranian Studies 33: 3-4 (Summer/Fall 2000): 285-326.

8. Claudia and Robert Bushman. "The Early History of Cleanliness in America," The Journal of American History 74:4 (March, 1988): 1213-1238 (1224-1226, specifically).

9. Bushman and Bushman, "The Early History of Cleanliness," 1228.

10. Cited in Bushman and Bushman, "The Early History of Cleanliness," 1234.

11. Bushman and Bushman, "The Early History of Cleanliness," 1235.

12. Bushman and Bushman, "The Early History of Cleanliness," 1236.

13. Corson, Fashions and Makeup, 386.

14. Theodore Peterson, Magazines in the Twentieth Century, 2nd Edition (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1964): 58-5;, cited in Vincent Vinikas, Soft Soap, Hard Sell: American Hygiene in an Age of Advertisement (Ames: University of Iowa, 1992), 10 (Table 1.1). These estimates seem very plausible in the light of other data Vinikas presents regarding circulation by city, subscription, and income distribution.

15. Vinikas, Soft Soap, Hard Sell, 15.

16. All values calculated from Table 1.5 in Vinikas, Soft Soap, Hard Sell, 16. This data would not capture the value of advertising in other ways, but certainly underscores the role of advertising in the periodical press as part of a mass marketing campaign.

17. Vinikas, Soft Soap, Hard Sell, 24.

18. Kathy Peiss, Hope in a Jar: The Making of America's Beauty Culture (New York: Metropolitan Books, 1998), 95-96.

19. William R. Leach, "Transformations in a Culture of Consumption: Women and Department Stores, 1890-1925," The Journal of American History 71:2 (September 1925): 319-42 (specifically 322-31).

20. Leach, "Transformations," 320.

21. "Namus," here used in an adjectival form, is a very specific form of honor that accrues to men who defend their women/households from the encroachments (sexual or otherwise) of others. The domain of male namus was extended to the nation starting in the nineteenth century. See Afsaneh Najmabadi, "The Erotic Vatan [Homeland] as Beloved and Mother: To Love, to Possess, and to Protect," Comparative Studies in Society and History 39: 3 (July 1997): 442-467.

22. Manuchehr cAla'i, "Sinema, Ya Bozorgtarin cAmel-e Fesad-e Akhlaq," Parcham-e Eslam, (9 May 1946): 1, 4. See also, "Mod-Parasti," Parcham-e Eslam, (5 June 1946), 1.

23. Nurollah Sotudeh, Ettelacat 2295 (22 September 1934), 2. For the broader discussion of education and morality, see Amin, The Making of the Modern Iranian Woman, 143-65 and 205-14.

24. "Sus-e Akhlaq!?" Ettelacat 2273 (23 December 1934): 2. For an expanded quote, see Amin, The Making of the Modern Iranian Woman, 206. For literary expressions of this concern over the state of modern Iranian culture in the 1930's, see Sadeq Hedayat's 1933 collection of satirical short stories Vagh Vagh Sahab and the fiery and semi-autobiographical 1931 novel of journalist Mohammad Mascud, Night Amusements (Tafrihat-e Shab). Mascud's novel was hailed as an almost "scientific" expose of social corruption. Amin, The Making of the Modern Iranian Woman, 72-3.

25. In Persian, "khanom-e khaneh va khanom-e birun." The first part of the phrase is easier than the second to translate succinctly. By "lady of the outside," or, "Lady Outside" the meaning here is "the young lady [i.e., the daughter] who prefers to spend her time outside" — to the same effect as "Little Miss 'I Want to go Out"."

26. Salnameh-e Pars [hereafter, SP] 7 (1311-1932-33)--Tehran: Majles Printing House, 1933. Part II: 61. This yearbook was part almanac, part government yearbook, and part magazine. It was published annually by Amir Jahid. It was a very interesting mix of the official, didactic, and commercial aspects of the periodical press in Iran. Claiming a run of 15,000 copies in the 1920s and 20,000 copies by the late 1930s, its author/editor Amir Jahid, made a point of numbering each issue and then entering the number of each issue in a drawing for several cash prizes for a few lucky subscribers. The pre-publication price of each issue was two-thirds the post-publication price. I am indebted to Jasamin Rostam-Kolayi for bringing this publication to my attention and encouraging me to review it for this article. She also shared some of her observations on cosmetic and fashion advertising in cAlam-e Nesvan above and beyond her own work on the subject in "Expanding Agendas for the 'New' Iranian Woman: Family Law, Work and Unveiling," in The Making of Modern Iran: State and Society Under Riza Shah, 1921-1941, ed. Stephanie Cronin (London: Routledge Curzon, 2003): 157-80.

27. For a longer discussion of the effects of commercialism on the Iranian press (especially in political rhetoric), see Camron Michael Amin, "Selling and Saving 'Mother Iran': Gender and the Iranian Press in the 1940s," The International Journal of Middle East Studies 33 (2001): 335-61.

28. The Reminiscences of Parvin Mo'ayyed-Sabeti (1988), pages 3-4, in the Oral History Collection of the Foundation for Iranian Studies. Originally cited in Amin, The Making of the Modern Iranian Woman, 210-11. Sabeti lived in Mashhad with her husband during the Women's Awakening Project. She founded an alumnae society for graduates of the American school for girls in Tehran, the Nurbakhshiyan Society. Nurbakhsh was the name designated for the American school as the Pahlavi state moved to nationalize all private schools in Iran in 1940.

29. Calculated from "Table 1: Volume and Value of Total Visible Imports, 1900-1968," in Julian Bahrier, Economic Development in Iran, 1900-1970 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971), 104-6. A word of caution here, as Bahrier was not sure of the reliability of trade data before 1960 (estimated error rate of +thirty per cent) and could not, of course, account for smuggling or false declarations by importers.

30. Bahrier, 48. Everything became much more expensive during the war and after. In the 1960s, the index for food was rising faster than the general index whereas index for clothing trailed the general index.

31. Bahrier, Economic Development in Iran, 108.

32. Amin, "Selling and Saving," 350.

33. Peiss, Hope in a Jar, 125-7. On page 126, Peiss notes that Max Factor "company representatives draped the glamorous [End Page 92] image of the movies around their products. At movie matinees, they set up stands in theater lobbies, made up women onstage, raffled cosmetic kits, and distributed complexion analysis cards with the name of local drug stores."

34. See U. S. State Department Files 891.6363 Petroleum (reels 14 and 15 of the microfilmed sets) and 891.77 ULEN AND CO (reel 17). One small set of documents refers to efforts by American filmmakers to confront the use of bootleg copies of American films in Iran from 1932-1935, see file 891.544 "Motion Pictures."

35. See Michael P. Zirinsky, "Render Therefore unto Caesar That Which is Caesar's: American Presbyterian Educators and Reza Shah," Iranian Studies, 26:3-4 (1993): 337-56. For more on the history of American financial missions to Iran before the Cold War, see W. Morgan Shuster, The Strangling of Persia (New York: The Century Co., 1912) and Arthur Chester Millspaugh, Americans in Persia (Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1946). Millspaugh's second tour as a financial advisor to the Iranian government occurred during the Allied Occupation of Iran during World War II and ended in 1944 due to pressure from parliamentary politicians and the press (rather than from the royal court, as happened in 1927).

36. While there is no doubt that the very developed American advertising industry in the 1920's and 1930's sought to influence American consumer choices, Roland Merchand was skeptical that there was a coherent effort to create a "consumer ethic." It would seen reasonable to expect that such a consumer interest in beauty culture in Iran might similarly have been a by-product of the far less organized advertising efforts there. Even Iranian state propaganda efforts in Iran would have been less well financed than American advertising. For more on the emergence of the American consumer ethic, see Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940 (Berkeley: The University of California Press, 1985), 117-63.

37. Even new dance crazes would be described as little windows on the secrets of modernity, the practice of "women of America and the civilized countries of Europe" that was part of a regimen to foster "stronger muscles" and "improve the circulation of the blood." See "Amuzesh-e Raqs-e Vales," Mehregan 134 (May 1941): 21.

38. For example, Myna Loy, on the cover of Mehregan 103 (5 January 1940).

39. "Varzesh: Varzesh-e Banovan," Mehregan 113 (14 June 1940): 6.

40. "Honarpishegan-e Ziba, Mahertarin Shenagaran," Mehergan 111 (17 May 1940): 20.

41. "Behdasht va Ziba'i: Tariqeh-e Sahih-e Hamam-e Aftab," Mehregan 96 (22 September 1939): 16.

42. "Arayesh-gah-e Zhan," Mehregan 49 (19 June 1937): 2, and "Mo'ssasseh-e Varzesh va Masazh be Osul-e Su'edi," Mehregan 53 (14 August 1937), facing the Table of Contents.

43. Ettelacat, 60 (24 October 1926), 2.

44. Ettelacat, 61 (25 October 1926), 2.

45. Ettelacat, 242 (16 June 1927), 2. The use of the term sabun indicates that soap was a very elastic concept. A brand of bar soap, Umbrella, was also marketed in the pages of Ettelacat at this time.

46. Ettelacat, 273 (29 July 1927), 4.

47. Quoted in Shireen Mahdavi, For God, Mammon and Country: A Nineteenth Century Persian Merchant Haj Muhammad Hassan Amin al-Zarb (1834-1898) (Boulder: Westview, 1999), 168.

48. SP 5 (Tehran: Majles Printing House, 1308 [1929-30]): 24 (of the advertising section).

49. Ettelacat, 1935 (2 July 1932), 4.

50. Mehregan, 73 (17 September 1938): back cover.

51. Ettelacat 2524, (4 July 1936), 6.

52. Educated women did clerical work outside the government (and perhaps inside unofficially) for years before the Women's Awakening, of course. Women could, and did, take private typing lessons from typewriter sales shops. After the collapse of the regime of Reza Shah in 1941, a press furor erupted over the right of women to stay in the government clerical jobs they had been given during the Women's Awakening.

53. Ettelacat, 2546 (29 July 1936), 8.

54. Ettelacat, 2551 (4 August 1936), 7. Of course the "new" models were 1935 models. The company declared that they were exclusive dealers of REO brand autos in Iraq and Iran, and touted the cars' international appeal, beauty, power, comfort and ease of operation. REO Motor Car Company was founded by Ranson Eli Olds in 1904 when he left the first company he founded, Oldsmobile (later acquired and recently retired by General Motors). He developed the REO self-shifter in 1934, which was a transitional drive-train technology between manual and automatic transmissions. It interesting that his cars had global reach and that such new automobile technology would be not just available but mass-marketed in Iran. Clearly, Middle East merchants played a key role in discovering and making available the latest inventions in Iran and elsewhere. Their pulling of imports into Iran was as important as any Western company's push to export overseas. Unfortunately for the REO Motor Car Company, production ceased on all models in 1936—it would be interesting to know if the Mashcal and Associates knew of this fact when they ran their ads. REO cars, however, still have their enthusiasts worldwide (and one cannot forget, no matter how hard one tries, the band REO Speedwagon). See, (19 July 2004).

55. "Dar Kenar-e Darya," Ettelacat, 2559 (14 August 1936), 8.

56. "Dastur-e Tashrifat," Ettelacat, 2592 (10 September 1936), 1, 8.

57. For a British diplomat's description of a "Western-style" state dinner with the Pahlavis in 1938, see Amin, The Making of the Modern Iranian Woman, 102.

58. Rostam-Kolayi, 172-5.

59. Rostam-Kolayi, 173-4.

60. Hajer Tarbiyat, "Zararha-ye Jesmi va Ruhi-ye Hejab" [The Physical and Spiritual Harm of the Veil], Ettelacat, 2706 (5 February 1936), 1.

61. Ironically, it appears that American advertisers at this time shared with the Pahlavi State (and its later critics) an ethos of helping society to make the transition to modernity. For the advertisers, part of this "therapeutic" role, in addition to providing a way to conceptualize and understand modern life, was informing consumers about new products. Another interesting resonance with the Iranian experience is the conceptualization of the advertisers as male and the public as feminine/emotional. [End Page 93] In the case of the Women's Awakening, the patriarchal state certainly saw itself as chaperoning young women to a particular vision of modernity. See Merchand, 32-38 and 335-59.

62. "Pasokhha-ye Mosabeh-e Delkash-e Makhsus-e Aghayan," Mehregan, 83 (January-February, 1939) : 12-13

63. "Pasokhha-ye Mosabeqeh-e Delkash-e Makhsus-e Aghayan," Mehregan 84 (10 March 1939): 12-13. See also, Amin, The Making of the Modern Iranian Woman, 131-34. I neglected to include this material on men's responses in my book and only noticed it as I was scouring Mehregan for advertisements and articles on fashion and cosmetics. Unlike the women, the men were not directly compared with foreign stereotypes. The potential significance of the questions on ideal appearance had simply not dawned upon me until I began to think about creation of Iran's "consumer culture."

64. Majid Movaqqar, the publisher of Mehregan, was a parliamentary deputy in the 1930s and early 1940s, a time when it was impossible to be elected without the court's approval.

65. This public "focus group" in Mehregan in the 1930s poses many of the same analytical problems and possibilities as the modern focus group utilized by advertisers in the contemporary United States. In both cases, the information solicited and extracted from the group is being utilized by the institution to effect ends it deems valuable. Despite this unequal power relationship, the members of the focus groups have an opportunity to express their preferences on an issue. If only on the narrow issue of "companionate marriage," it might be useful to think of the relationship between Mehregan/State and the respondents/subjects cited in the article as being akin to that of marketers and consumers in Kalman Applbaum's 1998 analysis in which "marketers and consumers are equal partners (whether as partners or adversaries, whether as active or passive) in the process of the re-creation of the capitalist cultural economy. . . . Marketers and consumers, in haggling with each other over the price of culture in late capitalist modernity, share the responsibility for the generation of this capitalist cosmology." Kalman Applbaum, "The Sweetness of Salvation: Consumer Marketing and the Liberal-Bourgeois Theory of Needs," Current Anthropology 39:3 (June 1998): 323-49. What attracted me to this conceptualization was Applbaum's use of the work of Marshall Sahlins as a point of departure, work I have used elsewhere in conceptualizing the Iranian press as a window on Iran's "cultural scheme." Applbaum was also attempting to tread a line between those theorists who imagine marketers spinning a totalizing and controlling hegemonic discourse on consumption in modern societies and those who see the relationship as a matter of negotiation stemming from a conception of society as being made of up rational actors with complete freedom of action. In the case of modern Iran, the issue has been more about the totalizing effects of state policies and propaganda but it strikes me as a similar problem (with the added dimension, in this case, of market forces). Commentators on Applbaum's article take him to task for ignoring the power dynamics inherent in marketer/consumer relations, a lack of empirical rigor, and a failure to integrate ideas of "consumer identity" developed in examination of such processes outside the United States. While I do not quite agree with Applbaum's reply that one can "control for power," I do regard power as a dynamic thing and agree with Deniz Kandiyoti, as she argued in the case of patriarchy specifically, that the true limits of power are established by resistance (be it through rebellion or negotiation) to that power. See Deniz Kandiyoti, "Islam and Patriarchy: A Comparative Perspective," in Women in Middle Eastern History: Shifting Boundaries in Sex and Gender, eds. Nikki R. Keddie and Beth Baron (New Haven: Yale Universitty Press, 1991), 23-42. For more on the use of testimonials in American advertising at this time, see Merchand, 52-63.

66. Mottahed al-Mal-e Vezarat-e Macaref beh Shahrestanha, (25 Azar 1314) [No. 3 Ministry of Education Memorandum to the Counties, (17 December 1935)] in Khoshunat va Farhang: Asnad-e Mahramaneh-e Kashf-e Hejab (1313-1322 [1934-1944]) (Tehran: Entesharat-e Sazman-e Asnad-e Melli-ye Iran, 1371 [1992/3]), 2-4. The full translation of this document will appear in A Sourcebook for Modern Middle Eastern History, ed. Camron Michael Amin, Benjamin C. Fortna, and Elizabeth B. Frierson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2004).

67. See Danesh 27 (27 May 1911): 2-3. The letter is translated in full in Amin, The Making of the Modern Iranian Woman, 42-47. American advertisers in the 1920s and 1930s also played on the themes of attracting men and keeping husbands at home even as they pitched to women with wider professional and social lives. Merchand, 167-188.

68. "Arayesh," Zaban-e Zanan [hereafter, ZZ] 23:1 (December 1942): 19. Translating "arayesh" as "cosmetology" imparts a modern significance to the word. Earlier meanings include "ornament" and "adornment" and even "custom." In modern Persian, the term arayeshgah means "beauty salon."

69. See, for example, "Arayesh" and "Hefz-e Khoshgeli," ZZ 24:2 (June 1944): 25-26 and 29, "Andam-e Ziba," ZZ 24:3 (July 1944): 11, and "Ziba'i dar Asar-e Salamati Ast," "Jush-s Surat," and "Mu-ye Sar," in ZZ 25:1 (March 1945): 16, 25, and 29.

70. For example, "Arayesh" in ZZ 24:2 was taken from Marie Claire, published initially in France from 1937 until 1942. War interrupted the publication during the time that Dowlatshahi's staff was adapting its content for Zaban-e Zanan. Revived in 1994, MarieClaire is now a Hearst Publication, one of several in its Marie Claire Group, and published in many languages. Its current corporate image is built on a narrative that identified the original Marie Claire published by Jean Prouvost (publisher of Le Figaro and Paris-Match) as "the first magazine aimed at women encouraging them to consider their own autonomy, charm and personal development." See,13794,434743_441086,00.html (July 19, 2004).

71. SP 16 (1320 - 1941/2): 103.

72. "Makhsus-e Khanom-ha," SP 16, 66-102, "Dar Entekhvab-e Lebas," "Parvaresh-e Jesm va Jan," and "Kelid-e Tandorosti," SP 17 (1321-1942/43) Part I: 51-74, 75-95, 110-154. "Ab Hava va Aftab," and "Sargarmi-ha," SP 18 (1322-1943/44) Part II: 50-62, and 73-80. Note that SP 17 and 18 were published together in 1944.

73. SP 17, 94.

74. SP 17, 110.

75. SP 17, 112.

76. SP 17, 116. [End Page 94]

77. SP 17, 119.

78. SP 17, 123.

79. SP 17, 127.

80. Taj Homa, "Tasavi-e Zan va Mard," cAlam-e Nesvan 9:6 (November 1929): 252-59.

81. Not in the same sense as "flavor of the month," this title might be better translated loosely as "Today's Woman" or "Contemporary Woman."

82. Ziba-Mir Hosseini, "Stretching the Limits: A Feminist Reading of the Shari'a in Post-Khomeini Iran," in Feminism and Islam: Legal and Literary Perspectives, ed. Mai Yamani (New York: New York University Press, 1996), 287-91.

83. Hosseini, "Stretching the Limits," 292-93.

84. Paidar takes note of the defense of women's rights that Zan-e Ruz made, beginning in 1984, under Sherkat's editorship. It appears she had challenged the status quo even before founding Zanan. Paidar, 275-302.

85. "Mosahebeh: Mostafa Mesbahzadeh," Iran Nameh 26:2-3 (1998)]: 331-61. The more unprocessed transcripts from his oral history are available at the Foundation for Iranian Studies in Bethesda, Maryland.

86. The company grew from a drugstore founded by Hans Schwarzkopf in Berlin in 1898. See, (19 July 2004).

87. Wella was founded in 1880 by Franz Ströher. See, (19 July 2004).

88. This company was founded in 1911 based on the discovery of cold cream compound by a research team headed by Oskar Troplowitz. See, (19 July 2004).

89. "Mosabeqeh-e Bayn al-Millali Dar Aruba," Zan-e Ruz 538 (11 Mordad 1354 [August 1975]): cover and 17.

90. Pari Sekandari, "Gozaresh az Paris: Bala-ye Khoshgeli: 'Iruni bazi' yacani cheh?" Zan-e Ruz 617 (30 Bahman 2535 [February 1976]): 22-23, 81. The article was a complaint against men who told pretty Iranian women to "stop playing Iranian" and to give into their sexual advances like European and American women. Leaving aside the realities behind such perceptions, the sexual availability of Western women is an old occidentalist trope, employed even by such sober feminists as Sadiqeh Dowlatshahi who argued in the 1920s that Iranian men were being wooed away from chaste Iranian women by "second and third class" European women with more sexual experience.

91. Robin Wright, The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran (New York: Vintage Books, 2001), 290.

92. E-mails from Maryam Nabavi dated, 15 and 23 August 2003.

93. Oral histories will probably always be more valuable for understanding psychological or cultural associations with events than uncovering specific facts. For example, Mrs. Sadiqeh Dowlatshahi (b. 1914) granted me an interview about her experiences as a pilot during the Women's Awakening Project in which two narrative elements were stressed: that she was the first woman to solo and that she had an encounter with Mohammad Mosaddeq as she went to enroll for flight lessons. Since publishing parts of her oral history in The Making of the Modern Iranian Woman, I have become aware of other women who have claimed to be the first woman to solo on the eve of World War II. See, for example, cEffat Tejaratchi's account in "Avvalin Zan-e Khalaban dar Iran," Ettelacat-e Banovan 17:826 (9 May 1973): 18, 91. Also, a researcher on the history of Iranian aviation, Abbas Atrash, who shared the aforementioned article, has doubts about any connection between Mosaddeq and Reza Shah's Aero Club. See his 22 November 2002 article, "Against the Wind," for the webzine The Iranian at (19 July 2004).

94. This term was coined by the Ottomans and appeared in Persian as "yengi donya," following Ottoman Turkish spelling. Nineteenth century Iranian newspapers tended to use the French "Etats-Unis" for the United States.

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