Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Film Includes Depiction of Iranian Polygyny

From what I know about present-day Iran, I do not think there is enough gender equality there. As such, relationships between men and women may have a de facto inequality. In addition, the Iranian President’s claim that there are no gays or lesbians in Iran is laughable and disturbing at the same time; disturbing because it is an indication of the ongoing persecution of LGBT people there.

Tomorrow, there will be a screening of a film, “Leila,” that centers on a monogamous man-woman marriage in Iran that appears to be headed towards polygyny.

Leila’s problems start shortly after she is married. She learns she is probably infertile. Her husband swears that he does not care, that she is important to him, not a future child. But Leila is worried that she has failed her husband. And his mother does everything in her power to make her believe that she has done just that. She does not let up in harassing and manipulating Leila, and slowly Leila becomes paranoid and continually tests the devotion of her husband. She finally persuades him herself that he has to look for a second wife to produce the child so important to carry on the family line.

I do not doubt that situations like this exist. What I don’t want is people to think that polygyny, or polygamy or polyamory in general is a bad thing. Where there is gender equality and LGBT rights, they can be good things, especially if people have marriage equality. Polygyny is more likely to be a bad thing where women don’t have true freedom.
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