Skip to main content

Towards A Micropolitics of Homo-eroticism In Shirin Neshat’s Women without Men

Forthcoming Articles

Towards A Micropolitics of Homo-eroticism In Shirin Neshat’s Women without Men

print
cite
print
cite

Cite this article

Cinema Iranica (May 27, 2024) Towards A Micropolitics of Homo-eroticism In Shirin Neshat’s Women without Men. Retrieved from https://cinema.iranicaonline.org/article/but-her-body-i-loved-her-body-too-towards-a-micropolitics-of-homo-eroticism-in-shirin-neshats-women-without-men/.
"Towards A Micropolitics of Homo-eroticism In Shirin Neshat’s Women without Men." Cinema Iranica - May 27, 2024, https://cinema.iranicaonline.org/article/but-her-body-i-loved-her-body-too-towards-a-micropolitics-of-homo-eroticism-in-shirin-neshats-women-without-men/
Cinema Iranica April 11, 2024 Towards A Micropolitics of Homo-eroticism In Shirin Neshat’s Women without Men., viewed May 27, 2024,<https://cinema.iranicaonline.org/article/but-her-body-i-loved-her-body-too-towards-a-micropolitics-of-homo-eroticism-in-shirin-neshats-women-without-men/>
"Towards A Micropolitics of Homo-eroticism In Shirin Neshat’s Women without Men." Cinema Iranica - Accessed May 27, 2024. https://cinema.iranicaonline.org/article/but-her-body-i-loved-her-body-too-towards-a-micropolitics-of-homo-eroticism-in-shirin-neshats-women-without-men/

In 1989, the Iranian author Shahrnush Parsipur, wrote a novella entitled Zanaan bedoon-e Mardaan (Women without Men), which narrates the story of different lives and fates of five women from different geographies, times, and social classes. The narrators in the novel are all single women who discover a utopic garden outside of Tehran: a space for women literally without men. In 2009, the eminent Iranian artist, Shirin Neshat, turned this novel into a movie of the same title earning her the Silver Lion for best directing at the Venice Biennale.
My article focuses on Neshat’s cinematic rendition of the novella through a comparative analysis of its written source and other works of Iranian cinema foregrounding the issue of women in the past two decades. I argue that Neshat’s Women without Men effectively transcends the politics of homosociality in Parsipur’s novella to a micropolitics of homoeroticism, much needed in the contemporary cultural and political scene of Iran which has become exceedingly keen to explore cultural politics of queerness and homoeroticism. Neshat’s attempt towards this micropolitics offers a solid ground for an aesthetics of desire in a feminist framework that allows for the emergence of different formations for female subjectivity in contemporary cultural production in Iran. Trough an analysis of her aesthetics of magic realism, I argue that Neshat effectively avoids falling into the “fad of feminism” and “lawful narrative genres” about which Teresa de Lauretis has warned us.
Another significant aspect of Neshat’s work is the deliberate emphasis she puts on the nation in her narrative. Seeking to destabilize the predetermined vocabulary of Orientalist discourses, Neshat’s regimentation of different aesthetics and narrative strategies helps the surface of the image become highly inconsumable and resist commodification. Foregrounding the struggle of Iranian people against the CIA-engineered coup d’état in 1953, Neshat reminds us of the urgency of critical attention to the nation as a resisting force against global capitalism—what Timothy Brennan carefully identifies as Americanization of the world under the name of cosmopolitanism.