Removing the mental veil

AS A YOUNG GIRL growing up in Iran, I was always grateful that my father didn't have any sons. We were three girls, and I often wondered what my life might have been like if one of us had been born a boy. As it happened, my father converted from Islam to Christianity, and so, by Eastern standards, my sisters and I were given a good education. Nevertheless, my upbringing was very strict. We were confined mainly to life within the four walls of our house. Our knowledge of the outside world came to us only through books.

I used to look at pictures of me as a child in Iran and think how ugly I was. I realized why—we women were never given a right to think of ourselves as human beings, never mind equal citizens!

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Journal notes from the Middle East
January 14, 2002

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