In Iran, Students Risked Severe Lashings for A Dance Party
There’s a moment in Heavyweights, the cinematic masterpiece about fat camp, where a line of guys and a line of girls awkwardly look at each other from across a dance floor. They’re equal parts nervous and excited about the prospect of overcoming cooties and crossing the literal gender line that divides them, which is exactly what happens after a girl gracefully walks over to ask a boy to dance. Soon enough, boys and girls dance with wild abandon, in a beautiful happy ending. We tell this story because, way over in Iran, happy endings were traded in for lashing when a group of mixed gender students dared to dance together at a graduation party.
Ninety miles outside of the capital city of Tehran, the country’s morality police found out about the salacious party and stormed in like a rampaging mom to end the debaucherous “dancing and jubilating.” As if this jubilation weren’t enough to give their moral hearts some serious palpitations, they also found young women “half naked.”
The party people getting lit in the town of Qazvin as they celebrated graduation didn’t end the night with projectile vomiting and confessions of love like we did when we graduated high school. Instead, thirty of them were arrested and given 99 lashings, which is not chill in the slightest. “We hope this will be a lesson for those who break Islamic norms in private places,” Ismaeil Sadeqi Niaraki, a city prosecutor and mullah affirmed, before pointing out that their actions could affect their education and “future employment.”
Surprised? Iranian laws ban mixed gender events, dancing, drinking and have forbid women from showing their hair in public since 1979. This is the same country that rewarded people recording themselves dancing to Pharrell’s song “Happy” with prison sentences and 91 lashings, which isn’t very happy. That’s not even the most egregious moment in their unofficial Iran Does the Darndest Things series, though.
That honor comes from the brilliant decision by the country’s Revolutionary Guards to name Kim Kardashian as a social media spy paid to influence Iranian youth into doing something crazy, like thinking for themselves and expressing their sexuality and independence. That shocking revelation came when an industry-wide crackdown on Iran’s fashion industry led to the arrest of eight people and interrogations of countless others over their decision to post on Facebook and Instagram without headdresses and with makeup on, both of which aren’t allowed in Iran.
As the thirty kids involved in the shocking mixed gender dance party prepare to hear what sentences will be handed down, we’re left to wonder how many lashes Kevin Bacon would’ve gotten if he tried to go full Footloose on the country’s archaic laws.
Images via Relativity Media and Tumblr.
Stay tuned to Milk for more rebellious youth.