How Do “Pro-State” Women Behave Politically during anti-State Movements: The Case of the Pro-State Women Activists in Iran during the 2022 Protests

Amirhossein Teimouri, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The growing scholarship on the relationship between gender and rightist movements show that women are increasingly drawn to these movements in the West, especially following the 2015 refugee crisis in Europe. As a result, many rightist movements--which perpetuate traditional views on gender issues—have changed their gender inequality language and policy positions. Less is known about political behaviors of pro-state rightist women, particularly after the rise of anti-state movements. Linking the burgeoning studies on gender and rightist movements in the West to Islamist movements and pro-state mobilizations, my research explores political language and behaviors of pro-state (known as pro-regime) women after the rise of the 2022 liberal Woman, Life, Freedom (WLF) movement in Iran. Using Twitter postings of fifty pro-regime women activists, I discuss how these pro-regime women supported and framed the Islamic Republic’s gender ideology. That is, these pro-regime women activists responded to contentious episodes of the WLF movement by critically engaging with gender ideology of the Islamic Republic regarding the hijab and various women’s issues. I demonstrate how these pro-regime women portrayed women’s political and social roles in the Islamic Republic on Twitter to counterbalance the anti-regime WLF movement’s standings on the subjugation of women in the country. Finally, I show the relationship between regime survival-- the most important issue for many pro-regime activists—and the Islamic Republic’s gender ideology.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 200. The Politics of Race, Sex, and Ethnicity