Longreads

Hedia Anvar | Slice | Spring/Summer 2018 | 16 minutes (3,161 words)

On the day I constructed an intellectual from scratch, my mother, all high heels and tailored skirt, would’ve taken me to the supermarket with her. I wanted badly to go but hadn’t jumped to get ready, so she left while I was still in my underwear playing in the dirt.

We lived on the second floor of a two-story old-style complex in the Shemiran quarter of Tehran. My mother’s relatives occupied the unit below. We all shared the yard where I played. Their helpers, village women in colorful head wraps, used the yard to scrub clothes and pluck chicken feathers.

In the Tehran of 1970s, women in micro-minis walked alongside those wearing full hijab. If there was a cultural difference between a modern Iranian woman and a European one, it wasn’t exemplified by my mother with her crêpe…

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