By SocProf.

Talk about degradation ceremony:

“An unusual punishment has shocked many in Iran. On April 15, police paraded a convicted criminal through the northwestern city of Marivan dressed in traditional Kurdish women’s clothing. This has prompted protests in the streets, online, and even in Iran’s parliament.”

Note the whole parade aspect to this, to make sure that one misses what is happening.

The idea behind this is simple: to be a woman is a degraded status and therefore, to make a man dress like one is a humiliation. When it is conducted in public, it exposes the recipient of that punishment to ridicule. One would never imagine doing the opposite: dress a woman like for punishment, right? That would not make any sense. Humiliation only works one way, from dominant status to subordinate status. The reverse would be some sort of upgrade, which defeats the purpose of punishment and humiliation. There is no stigmatization in reverse because there is no equality in power.

Now, it may seem as something out of a theocracy, as Iran is, but let us all remember that western culture also contains similar elements of comparing boys to girls or men to women as a form of humiliation (“throwing like a girl”). We have all sorts of nasty names for boys and men who do not conform to patriarchal norms of toughness, athleticism, etc. Insulting someone’s manhood flows from the same idea that sexes are polar opposites, not equal, with no shades of grey in between.

See also here for an article in French on this topic.

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