- Author(s): Khatibi, Marjan
- Advisor(s): Swensen, Elizabeth
- et al.
In historical Persian mythology, female power is a symbol of mother nature, the protector of humans and Earth. I am interested in how this historical, supernatural, fantastical figure could inspire the restoration of the critical role of women in contemporary society.Anahita is the Mother of Gods in old Persian. She is a symbol of fertility, pureness, creation, and affection. The Worship of Anahita continued in the Sassanid period (224 to 651 AD). D. M. Murdoch writes, “In Persian mythology, Anahita is the goddess of all the waters upon the earth and the source of the cosmic ocean; she drives a chariot pulled by four horses, wind, rain, cloud, and sleet; She is regarded as the source of life.” (Murdock, 2013, p.3) In contrast with my childhood, as a woman in Iran, I did not have the right to do many things without the consent of my father. In fact, I am the legal property of my father. The “hijab” dress code is mandatory and is enforced both by the law and by male relatives. So, I did not have the right to wear what I pleased, or generally, to live my life in a way that I truly wanted to. In legendary stories of goddesses, associated with ideas such as fertility, motherhood, and pureness, is the power and confidence to face the patriarchal culture of my country. So, as part of my graduate research, I have become interested in topics around female role models and feminist values. I critique the patriarchal conditions of contemporary Iran by contrasting them with a narrative of powerful female figures from Persian mythology. My goal is to reflect these contemporary problems by criticizing the obstacles and limitations women in Iran struggle with on a daily basis, and present an alternative, even fantastical representation of true stories.