Identify a significant theme of Lipstick Jihad.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the most important themes to come out of Moaveni's work is the idea that the experience of women in many fundamentalist settings is different than that of men. The entire notion of "lipstick jihad" is that their mere act of applying makeup and embracing it as a part of one's femininity has political implications in a place like the Ayatollah's Iran.  The basic tension between what the mullahs were preaching and how women were acting and in what they believed forms the thematic development of how women appropriate the role of "the other" in dissent from the norm.  The theme of women seeking to find a voice that exists outside of what fundamentalist culture dictates is part of the narrative. 

I think that another theme is the modern predicament of displacement.  Moaveni's narrative reveals how individuals are in search of their home.  Her own story depicts this.  As she was Iranian, she leaves when the revolution takes place, only to come back as a journalist and leave again when the repression becomes too great to bear.  Her own experience brings light to the idea that the modern predicament is one in which a sense of rootlessness is evident.  The modern immigrant is one in which there is a desire to connect to the home, only to realize that its hopeful vision may only live in the subjective.  Contrary to a more traditional read of immigration, in which those who leave remain in the new world and almost deny that an old one exists, this modern vision of immigration is a more fluid one, where the individual is constantly in search of happiness both "there" and "here."  In Moaveni's own narrative, this theme is evident.

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