Safaneh Mohaghegh Neyshabouri
Department of Modern Languages & Cultural Studies
University of Alberta
Social Media and Iranian Women’s Everyday Forms of Resistance
The analysis of social media use by Iranians frequently focuses on political activism. However, In Weapons of the Weak: the Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance, James C. Scott argues that the subordinated people have rarely been afforded the luxury of organized political activity. Their open resistance is usually met with strong suppression and is often dangerous and suicidal. Hence, they are far more likely to defy oppressive policies by employing an everyday form of resistance rather than acting outright confrontational. In this study, I apply Scott’s ideas to the use of social media by Iranian women. I argue that since the inception and popularization of social media sites such as Orkut.com (est. 2004) and Cloob.com (est. 2005) in Iran, social media have become the new sites of everyday resistance for women. Although Iranian women have always displayed everyday forms of resistance against sexual, cultural and social boundaries set for them by patriarchy and in the past four decades by theocracy, social media expands the boundaries of this resistance in interesting ways, which in turn feeds back into their everyday resistance in the non-virtual world.
Safaneh Mohaghegh Neyshabouri is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Alberta, Department of Modern Languages & Cultural Studies. She is a published scholar, creative writer and translator; an associate editor at the Parsagon Review; and a recipient of the Houtan Foundation scholarship. Her dissertation focuses on the life writing of Iranian women as a socio-political force. She received her BA and MA degrees in English Language and Literature from Iran. Her research interests include life writing studies, women and gender studies, Middle Eastern studies, diversity and the intersection of business and humanities. Prior to starting her PhD in Canada, she was a journalist in Iran and wrote weekly columns about literature in English. "