Tuesday, October 19, 2021

American women are overrepresented in pop culture, but women from other countries are even more underrepresented

Razieh Rogezai, a featured artist in “Wonder Woman,” sat down with Nicole Simas for Variety to discuss how her work captures the sweeping changes Iranian women have experienced since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

In 2012, Marvel decided to bring a young woman to life as part of their flagship superhero franchise. But Wonder Woman, real-life Wonder Woman (Razieh Rogezai), couldn’t fit into the visual gimmick of having a woman created specifically for the project.

So instead, Marvel chose a woman that was already an artist and performance artist named Nazifa Jahanbegloo. When she told Marvel that she wasn’t comfortable with being dressed like the character, Marvel hired Rogezai to tell Jahanbegloo’s story through sculpture and painting.

Not only is Rogezai particularly interested in representing and integrating Iranian women’s art into popular culture, she is also working with a group of other young women artists and filmmakers to help bring back women’s stories in film and culture in Iran. She is the co-director of the Strange Women of Iran exhibition that is traveling throughout the country and will open in Rome, Italy next month. Her work has also been seen in the Hollywood film Wonder Woman as well as among the artwork being auctioned in San Francisco this weekend for the annual San Francisco International Children’s Film Festival.

For many of these Iranian women, their presence and influence on the pop culture, fashion, and literature worlds is relatively new. And these stories are also a reminder that it hasn’t always been easy to be a woman who is a political or creative force in Iran. But these women make it a point to push the boundaries of what is socially acceptable in their culture and continue to succeed despite the culture’s limitations and obstacles. Here, Rogezai shares her insights on the invisibility, and remarkable bravery, of the Iranian woman.

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