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News: Spandex leggings causing a stir with Iran’s conservatives (The Economist)

ImageDespite enforcement of appropriate women’s dress-code in Iran being at its most relaxed since the revolution, it seems fashion’s most recent must-have item is causing a stir with conservatives.

In Iran women are expected to follow the laws of appropriate dress or “good hijab”, which means dark, loose fitting clothing that covers the body and legs.  However, in recent years women have begun to wear more tightly fit, slightly shorter summer coats and it seems that Tehran’s morality police have relaxed somewhat compared to the strict days following the revolution.  This is a far-cry from the ultra-strict days post-revolution, where women would be subjected to long lectures about dress-code and the voluntary paramilitary baseej would beat women for wearing inappropriate attire, or for riding bicycles.  However, it seems that spandex leggings underneath summer coats is one step too far.

This most recent trend with young women has caused an outcry from Iran’s conservatives who believe women are bringing Islamic morals into question by adorning these tight-fitting garments.  Niloofar, a student in Tehran tells The Economist that leggings are good from the heat of summer, and Iranian women want to keep up with trends that are popular with other women around the world.  Niloofar says “I don’t understand the fuss. We wear dark colours and [the conservatives] are still dissatisfied. If more than ten women do something in this country, it suddenly becomes an offence and they start looking for ways to stop it.”  However conservative websites are deeming spandex leggings a “cultural onslaught” from the West, that they inspire a “lustful atmosphere” and one website goes as far as to blame leggings for a rise in sexual assaults.

Despite a slight easing off from Iran’s morality police in recent years, women continue to be scrutinised and lectured about their attire and it seems that spandex leggings are a fashion step too far for conservatives.

For the full story: http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21586315-liberal-women-want-wear-jollier-clothes-while-conservatives-say-tut-tut-keep

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