Women on the Front Line

Women on the Front Line

2013, Society  -   27 Comments
Ratings: 7.13/10 from 75 users.

Women on the Front Line is a one-hour documentary exploring the battle between the women's rights movement and rigid Sharia law in modern day Iran. The expose comes from Hossein Martin Fazeli, a filmmaker with a track record of bringing Iranian cultural topics into the public eye in his work. The film uses an interview-based format, intercut with beautiful imagery of the country and abstract artistic expressions of the oppressive conditions women are forced to endure in the culture.

The film wastes no time depicting the limitations women have imposed upon them, from mundane laws dealing with the restrictive clothing women are forced to wear (their entire bodies must be covered in public, beginning around age nine) to the downright blasphemous subordination of female testimony "value" in the court system. The poignant example used to demonstrate the latter is an instance of rape; where in the case of an accused man's word against a female victim's, a woman automatically loses the case because her testimony is only "worth half" that of a man's in the eyes of the court. So, unless there is a witness (how often is that the case in a rape accusation?) corroborating the woman's testimony, rape goes unpunished in the country in the bulk of cases.

Another story is told by a now lifelong-activist for the cause where a woman had quarreled with her husband about a rather nominal domestic issue, after which the husband headed to work and she set off to meet with her religion teacher - a longtime reoccurring practice for the woman. Upon arriving at the teacher's home, she was met at the door and told that she would no longer be allowed to study with the teacher, and that she must leave immediately. When the pupil pushed for an explanation, she was simply told that her husband had stopped by on his way to work and forbade the woman from studying there going forward. The instance demonstrates the power exerted over women is not only limited to their own actions, but the way those in their lives are permitted to interact with them.

On a topic that many in Western culture think they have a grasp of solely from the sporadic CNN updates that are peppered into their lives, Women on the Front Line does a commendable job of educating audiences about the severity of disadvantage women experience in many Islamic cultures.

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27 Comments / User Reviews

  1. DustUp

    If you know men in american prisons due to the lies of women, is that a "better culture"? Is a feminized society that suppresses the nature and natural sensibilities of boys and men, is that "enlightened"? For instance a boy expelled from school for drawing a gun in an art session, after a fun weekend of target shooting with his dad. Or a man vilified by the press for telling the truth, that women and men are indeed different in many ways, while feminized Marxist (men and women) are stupidly trying to tell us they are equal.

    Different doesn't mean better or worse. Yet that seems to be the foot stomping mentality of the emotionalized Collectivists who in effect are mentally disturbed and cannot allow themselves to see their own folly.

    The oppressed become the oppressors. Brilliant.

    @slpsa readily admits s/he lives in their own reality of despising those that believe different, those that believe in "sky fairies".

    Is a "sky fairy" somehow less valid than an "earth fairy"? Is having faith that a higher power exists less valid than having faith that one doesn't? Is having faith in scientific THEORIES, many of which have already been proven wrong, somehow more intelligent? ...just because your govt school indoctrination failed to inform you many theories they teach have been proven wrong and you are too lazy and egotistical to investigate anything for yourself? Why would they lie? Excellent question. Follow the money.

    One can only chuckle at the extent of the egos of men and women. If one were to seriously examine the horrors that they have caused, it would be too nightmarish.

    Their egos and selfishness are the cause of all problems between people. They hide it behind so called religion. They hide it behind so called science. They hide it behind pretending to "help" via govt programs which steal from the un-rich to dribble a little to the poor while govt class steals the majority. They hide it behind their trying to wash away their guilt emotions by pretending to do charitable works, while causing bad results.

    Is it bad to learn from wisdom, even if it is written in a so called religious book? Granted not all are equal. For instance does Jesus instruct to "turn the other cheek" or to "convert or kill the infidel"? Which causes conflict and war?

    Because war profiteers hide behind religion or Marxist media labels them as such, shall we judge true wisdom to be bad because greedy banksters / war profiteers cause war? Where were you to expose the war profiteers, rather than lazily pointing fingers at the scapegoat of religion? The BanksterCorproMilitaryGovtMedia Complex had duped so many. So have the Mullahs for profit.

    Clearly, any nation or municipality that wants sensible govt should require passing a minimum comprehension, psychological, and drug test before being allowed to run for any office. Unfortunately the lazy people would allow the Marxists and Muslims to rewrite the test to weed out those who don't think like them.

    So then we must rely on the media to expose the frauds? And when the media has been captured by the Marxists who are corrupt by their very nature? Yes, corrupt. When the ends justify the means and you must lie to fool the people into your scheme, that is corrupt ...not to mention the inherent corruption of the function of that system of bureaucratic rule. Just look at the European Union and what all those bureaucrats have done and are doing. Or the former Soviet Union, which the usa is becoming more like in certain ways, every passing day.

    Thankfully we now have easy access to independent news and information via the internet. So why do so many still volunteer to be propagandized in front of the boob tube? It is either a mental addiction, laziness, not wanting to know what they have a glimmer of suspect about, or all of the above.

    Yes, oppression of any kind is wrong. Just be sure in your zeal to lift oppression, that you don't facilitate the oppressed to become the new oppressors. Wisdom over emotion please.


    Excellent. So much of what they deal with minute by minute is inconceivable to those who don't have to live it. I would love to know that from now on, no Mother will ever teach her child that something bad happening to someone, anyone, in another culture - is "their culture" and they don't know anything else. I was told this to stop discussion of many ugly things in "other people's cultures." It is time for human rights to prevail - regardless.

    1. Hossein Martin Fazeli

      Totally agree with you, DIMOJABE. Human rights are and should be universal. Thanks for your comment.

      Hossein Martin Fazeli, Director of Women On the Front Line

  3. ali jt

    Many of those interviewed in this documentary are in Iran has criminal record
    And are hated by the Iranian people

    mehr Angyzkar
    His lawyer, journalist and feminist activist who in April 1379 in the conference entitled "Iran after the elections" were held in Berlin by the Heinrich Boll Foundation (also known as Berlin) participated. The conference participants to insulting and undignified to go along with the people and the Islamic Republic.

    At the same time that his wife, Pourzand, by saying something against the Islamic Republic for political asylum was one of the spy America and mehr Angyzkar fled to the West.
    Fatima Haghighatjoo
    He left the country under the pretext of continuing education
    He then ran out of the tent aside

    Fariba Davoodi Mohajer
    He then ran out and taking refuge in the US during his interview with the host of a network of Los Angeles when he asks
    Why do not you just wear a scarf in front of the camera tells me the good conditions so I was already veil in IranBut I do not believe in it, and when a reporter asks her to remove her headscarf veil in front of the TV cameras and This ugly act against Iran knows the current situation of Iranian women will want to repeat that experience.
    And many others in this document are therefore not documented any real value

    1. Hossein Martin Fazeli

      "Criminal record" according to whom? A regime that has one of the most horrendous human rights records in the world? Get a life, man!

  4. Philippa

    Fabulous documentary. But still puzzled as to why Noam Chomsky ("political philosopher"...really???) is in it....?

    1. Hossein Martin Fazeli

      Good question, Philippa! Chomsky said much more but we couldn't put more of him in the film (editorial limitations).

      Hossein Martin Fazeli, Director of Women On the Front Line

  5. Leslie

    That was very eye-opening and inspiring. More power to them!

  6. Mari

    EVERYBODY SHOULD WATCH THIS DOCUMENTARY! These people are very BRAVE and such role-models for everyone who supports equality. NO WOMAN IS FREE UNTIL ALL WOMAN IS FREE. If we achieve gender equality, It will be thanks to corageous and genuine people like the ones in this documentary!

  7. müjgan

    Just wonder; why documentary shows women in black- hijab- again and again? I think this is very manipulative. İf you journey to Iran, you can see, women mostly close half of their hairs. İf you cant go, google it on photos. We should argue why the goverment interfere women's wearing. But this case,Europe is not different from the Iran. Goverments always have reasons. It doesnt matter Iran or France.You should know France banned burqa.

  8. coryn

    Excellent documentary……

    Let's be honest about this --- human rights, i.e. truly human rights for men, women and children have rarely been in existence anywhere……. So, for the sake of discussion, let's assume that religions, all of them, today and in the past, are neither 'truthful', nor 'factual', but that they are the products of men's imaginations, and their passions……. And let's also consider the subjugation of women as an evolutionary phenomena. Men have always been dominant in size and strength, while women are burdened by pregnancy, childbirth and nurturing the young, and thus simply unable to be both a mother and a fighter and hunter. Human evolution over thousands of years favored small, hunting and gathering groups which moved constantly, which required discipline and readiness at all times. Therefore I suggest that men dominated and controlled women for sexual gratification reasons primarily. It is a 'primitive' social artifact that should be confronted with reason, and changed immediately. As a Sicilian friend once told me, "Men are like the bees, and women like the flowers......"

    So little is known regarding anthropology, because it really isn't taught to children in school or at home. Each child is taught, 'brainwashed' may be more accurate, that 'his' cultural beliefs and his religion are the only 'correct' ones. But don't all cultures and societies have the same basic wants and needs, and subjugation of any group inevitably leads to strife and confrontations. Those days should be gone forever, and reason and a scientific method should be the guidelines we follow now and in the future….. All humans deserve human rights......

    1. Hossein Martin Fazeli

      Thank you, Coryn! But according to many scholars early human civilizations were matriarchal. I don't know how much truth there's to that. But I know this: in order to make life livable in this world, we should do something about gender inequality.

      Hossein Martin Fazeli, Director of Women On the Front Line

  9. Bill Duckworth

    Jesus said God's greatest Commandnent focused on love. Subjugation is not love.

    1. Rodney Bresch

      I agree, but what does this have to do with Jesus?

  10. slpsa

    I worked in Iran for the better part of a year. It is sad indeed. Religion teaches intolerance. It should be discarded in todays world.

    1. Rodney Bresch

      Yes, well lumping all "religion" into the same category, is a bit of stretch. Even lumping all muslims, into a certain category, is presumptuous. We all have sets of beliefs. We think of religious folk, as following a "concrete" doctrine, but as we know, nothing in the universe, appears static...esp our interpretation of symbols. Not all muslims interpret or practice islam the same, just as christians vary. You see the same in politics, and every other facet of society, as well. Not all dems share the same, as not all repubs do etc...

      Also, you sound rather intolerant here, of other's beliefs. They should be "discarded". Well, funny you say that, as palestinians are being bombed, and many americans condone their tax dollars funding it, because they're just muslims, anyway.

    2. slpsa

      I am intolerant of anyone's religious beliefs. Admittedly so. You just in front of my eyes, stretched what i said into an assumption. Believing in sky fairies is weak. For the weak minded. It seems to me, they have a big problem with their own mortality and believe that somehow, there is a life in paradise after death. Books written for men, by men, are just that. Written by mortal men. It is and has been and will be responsible for more deaths than anything this planet has ever seen by any other means. Muslims are people. And if you look back on my posts about Iran years ago, youd see that not everyone there is religious, just like not everyone here in Canada or from my home country, England, are religious either. Sir do not attempt to put words in my mouth or draw conclusions about my opinion of Palestine or Muslims, or Israelis either. I despise religion, bible bunny's of any flavor and especially the Westboro Baptist type vermin. If that is not clear enough for you, revert to my earlier posts on the subject of religion and read them. Then come back to me and tell me i think its ok to exterminate Muslims or Palestinians.

    3. Rodney Bresch

      I didn’t put words in your mouth, read again. I was implying that you’re attitude, whether you know it or not, promotes that sort of thinking.

      And religion is responsible for more deaths, than anything seen on this planet? Lol not quite. If you’re looking for the biggest cause of death; look for disease, famine, climate shifts, and other environmental factors. If you’re looking for the biggest manmade cause of death, wrong again. In the last century, more people have died in wars or as a result of, than…well that argument can’t be verified. But, the amount of people who have died in 20th century wars, that had little to nothing to do with religion often, is pretty
      hard to compare with. It would probably equal, at least to the last 1000 years of war related deaths.

      Also, you say religion was the cause of so many deaths. Well, yes and no. Because, the people who practiced those religions so
      ardently, like the religions themselves, were a product of a much more savage time. If we didn’t have some of our lovely tech we have today, bet your ass, we’d be just as savage. And even with it, we still are…rather intolerant, of one another’s beliefs and liberties. In one word, tell me what replaced the widespread physical enslavement of people? Industrialism…

      After you respond, I’ll tie that in, with my over arching point: about women’s rights, and how just a handful of decades ago, the entire
      world, treated women very similarly. The change came…from tech advancements.
      Society has such a short memory…

      Oh, but not all religions preach about people in the sky. And many are the complete opposite of intolerant. There are 1000’s of religions lol. You just sound very hypocritical, as you practice ideals of intolerance, that so many people gripe about, in regards to archaic religions.

      I don't even follow any "religion"...but that doesn't change reality.

    4. slpsa

      Your reality. Differs from mine. We will leave it at that. My attitude is repeated everyday. By many people. :) Enjoy your day.

    5. Guest

      Yes, most of the "civilized world", is intolerant of other's beliefs, in general. I agree. Anyone who doesn't share our views, lacks common sense, intelligence and/or maturity. That's the world we live in, no? We've come so far. But yea, have a good one. I hope you don't run into any lowly religious folk...

  11. RickRayFSM

    This video is another proof that religion poisons everything !

  12. oQ

    Powerful artistic expression of dignity.
    Highly recommended.

  13. ~Oliver B Koslik Esq

    Anyone fighting or having fought
    an uphill battle will appreciate this film.

    Excellent Doc!

  14. Upali

    One of the best documentaries. Gives a good picture of the problem. Should be used in awareness raising programmes.