Lipstick Jihad

Information from Lipstick Jihad Discussion

A big thank you to Dr. Kim Brown, Farzaneh Turk, Sepideh Rabii, and Kristine Rabii for their participation in our panel last night! You can find Dr. Brown’s powerpoint presentation by clicking here  

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Lipstick Jihad Discussion Questions

Dear Readers, Here are discussion questions for Lipstick Jihad to consider as you read the book. We can discuss your responses at our next book club session on February 4 at 6:15 pm. 1. In the introduction to the book, the word jihad is translated as “struggle”. Why do you think the title of the book is “Lipstick Jihad”? Do you like the title? Why or why not? 2. Most of Azadeh Moaveni’s family arrived in America just before or with the 1979 revolution. They view themselves as exiles rather than immigrants [p. 28]. What effect does this sensibility have on their sense of identity and their need to assimilate? 3. At the beginning of the book, Azadeh is in many ways a typical teenager, trying desperately to fit in with her peers. She is embarrassed by her Iranianness, especially in the wake of the hostage crisis. She feels caught between two irreconcilable cultures — those of her Persian home and her American school. By college, however, she sheds her efforts to cultivate a certain “ethnic ambiguity” [p. 10] and instead embraces “the joys of my own private Iranianness” [p. 28]. How does of her sense of her own identity change once she moves to Iran? 4. Upon arriving in Iran, Azadeh realizes that growing up on the “outside” came with many complications: “You grew up assuming everything about you was related to that place, but you never got to test that out . . . You spent a lot of time . . . feeling sad for your poor country. Most of that time, you were actually feeling sorry for yourself, but since your country was legitimately in serious trouble, you didn’t realize it.” [p. 32] To what extent do hyphenated Americans use questions about cultural origins as a cloak to conceal deeper uncertainties about themselves and their values? 5. Azadeh decides that in order to portray Iran’s young generation faithfully, she needs to live among them and like them. “I cannot write about them without writing about myself,” she writes [p. xi]. If an author becomes part of the story she is writing, does she lose her ability to report objectively? Where in the book does the tug between objective reporting and Azadeh’s subjectivity as an Iranian woman reveal itself? 6. Azadeh describes the rebellion of Iranian youths as various “as if” behaviors [pp. xi, 55, 62]. What does she mean? Do these...

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