There's an article on Bloomberg today about women-only parks in Tehran.
The parks - there are two so far and plans to open another four - provide a place for women to play sports, sunbathe and just hang out outside without having to be fully covered.
Twenty-two year old Pantea Ebrahimian says, "Every Iranian woman dreams of being able to walk under the sky like this" - this being in a miniskirt and pink tank top. Eliminating the restricting layers of clothing makes her feel infinitely freer, even though she's technically caged into a very specific area.
Our first thought was, yeah, it's kind of like the mini-skirt movement. What you wear, whether you want to acknowledge it or not, plays a huge role in how you feel and if you're being forced into head-to-toe coverage, your soccer skills might be slightly impaired. So it is, in a way, great that Iranian women and young girls now have a place to go where they can feel free.
But on the other hand, it's really disturbing that they're being cordoned off into a thirty-seven acre park. And now a generation of young girls will grow up thinking they can only run around, and only be free, in front of other women which moves away from equality and essentially encourages segregation.
So unlike the mini-skirt movement, which was a symbolic and progressive step toward equality for women, the parks are a discouraging stalemate. We're thrilled that Ebrahimian's thrilled to wear her miniskirt - we just wish she could wear it everywhere.