Melody Moezzi was born to Persian parents at the height of the Islamic Revolution and raised amid a vibrant, loving, and gossipy Iranian diaspora in the American heartland.
When at eighteen, she began battling a severe physical illness, her community stepped up, filling her hospital rooms with roses, lilies, and hyacinths.
Refusing to be ashamed, Moezzi became an outspoken advocate, determined to fight the stigma surrounding mental illness and reclaim her life along the way.
Both an irreverent memoir and a rousing call to action, is the moving story of a woman who refused to become torn across cultural and social lines.
Parisian entrepreneur Moojan Asghari noticed something unusual about the Tehran startup weekend she contributed to in December 2016: the prevalence of stylish hijabs and lipstick.
Unlike the high-tech events she goes to in Europe and the United States, women were well-represented in the competing Iranian teams.
President Hassan Rouhani, who championed the deal, promised that all Iranians would benefit economically as a result.
Yet without serious reforms to Iran’s legal code and labor regulations, Rouhani’s rhetoric will remain detached from the daily reality of a critical constituency in Iran and one which makes up half of the country’s population: Iranian women.
“The fashion scene in Iran (especially the underground fashion scene) really took off after economic sanctions were imposed against Iran,” Iranian-American fashion blogger Hoda Katebi tells Racked.
But when she attempted suicide and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, there were no flowers.
Despite several stays in psychiatric hospitals, bombarded with tranquilizers, mood-stabilizers, and antipsychotics, she was encouraged to keep her illness a secret—by both her family and an increasingly callous and indifferent medical establishment.
Women in Iran confront an array of legal and social barriers, restricting not only their lives but also their livelihoods, and contributing to starkly unequal economic outcomes.
Although women comprise over 50 percent of university graduates, their participation in the labor force is only 17 percent.