Gender and Language, Vol 11, No 1 (2017)

Resisting silence: moments of empowerment in Iranian women’s blogs

Maryam Paknahad Jaborooty, Paul Baker
Issued Date: 28 Mar 2017


This paper illustrates how women in Iran use blogs to write about their relationships and feelings as a way of providing momentarily empowerment in a society that places restrictions on their freedom. We examine a relatively under-explored form of blogging, common to Iran, which we call ‘love blogging’, and we carry out a qualitative analysis of a small sample of four blog postings from different Iranian women which are used to illustrative different techniques that women use in order to challenge hegemonic gendered discourses in their society. We show how Iranian women use blogs as a way of revealing their innermost thoughts, creating alternative identities and articulating what is left ‘unsaid’ to their partners. The postings chosen highlight the disempowered status of women in Iranian society, from staying at home to carry out servicework to cases of marital rape and other forms of violence which Iranian women are expected to silently endure. The blog postings also indicate how women use techniques to avoid censorship, including use of metaphor, ambiguity, altered idioms and images.

Download Media

PDF (Price: £17.50 )

DOI: 10.1558/genl.22212


Baxter, J. (2003) Positioning Gender in Discourse: a Feminist Methodology. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Baxter, J. (2006) Speaking Out: The Female Voice in Public Contexts. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.

Bruckman, A. (1993) Gender swapping on the internet. Retrieved on 16 July 2011 from

Cameron, D. (1990) The Feminist Critique of Language: a Reader. London: Routledge.

Christensen, B. (undated) René Magritte. Retrieved on 14 August 2011 from

Coates, D. (1986) Women, Men and Language. London: Longman.

Cottle, S. (2011) Media and the Arab uprisings of 2011: research notes. Journalism 12(5): 647–59.

Crystal, D. (2001) Language and the Internet: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Davies, J. (2011) Discourse and computer mediated communication. In K. Hyland and B. Paltridge (eds) Continuum Companion to Discourse Analysis 228–43. London: Continuum.

DePoy, E. and Gilson, S. F. (2007) Human Experience: Description, Explanation, and Judgment. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Foucault, M. (1979) The History of Sexuality: The Will to Knowledge (vol. 1). London: Allen Lane.

Hans, M. L., Selvidge, B. D., Tinker, K. A. and Webb, L. M. (2010) Online performances of gender: blogs, gender-bending, and cybersex as relational exemplars. In K. B. Wright and L. M. Webb (eds) Computer-Mediated Communication in Personal Relationships 302–23. Oxford: Peter Lang.

Herring, S. C., Scheidt, L. A., Bonus, S. and Wright, E. (2004) Bridging the gap: a genre analysis of weblogs. Paper presented at the 37th Hawai’i International Conference on System Sciences, Los Alamitos.

Hochschild, A. R. (1983) The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

ISNA News Agency (2006) شناسايي مراجعات كاربران اينترنت به سايتها؛ قانوني يا غيرقانوني؟. Retrieved on 18 June 2011 from

ITIran. (2007). درصد خانوارهای ایرانی رایانه و 12 درصد اینترنت دارند 22. Retrieved 30 August 2011 from

Kar, M. (2008) Discrimination against women under Iranian law. Retrieved on 17 January 2017 from

Karlsson, L. (2007) Desperately seeking sameness: the processes and pleasures of identification in women’s diary blog readings. Feminist Media Studies 7(2): 15.

Kumar, R. (2011) Research Methodology: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners. Oxford: Sage.

Lazar, M. (2008) Language and communication in the public sphere: a perspective from feminist critical discourse analysis. In R. Wodak and V. Koller (eds) Communication in the Public Sphere: Handbook of Applied Linguistics (vol. 4) 89–112. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Matheson, D. (2005) Media Discourses: Analysing Media Texts. New York: McGraw-Hill.

McConnell-Ginet, S. (2014) Meaning-making and ideologies of gender and sexuality. In S. Ehrlich, M. Meyerhoff and J. Holmes (eds) The Handbook of Language, Gender and Sexuality (2nd edition) 316–34. Malden, MA: Wiley: Blackwell.

Miller, C. R. and Shepherd, D. (2009) Questions for genre theory from the blogosphere. In J. Giltrow and D. Stein (eds) Genres in the Internet: Issues in the Theory of Genre 263–90. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Mission for Establishment of Human Rights in Iran (undated) Islamic Penal Code of Iran. Retrieved on 15 August 2011 from

Myers, G. (2010) The Discourse of Blogs and Wikis. London: Continuum.

Nowson, S., Oberlander, J. and Gill, A. J. (2005) Weblogs, genres and individual differences. Paper presented at the 27th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Stresa, Italy.

Perumal, J. (2007) Identity, Diversity and Teaching for Social Justice. Bern: Peter Lang.

Schröter, M. (2013) Silence and Concealment in Political Discourse: Discourse Approaches to Politics Society and Culture. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Swales, J. M. (1990) Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tonekamedical (undated) طرح يكپارچهسازي فيلترينگ. Retrieved on 18 June 2011 from

Ulsamer, F. (2002) Linguistik des Schweigens: Eine Kulturgeschichte des kommunikativen Schweigens. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Vahdati, S. (2005) عملکرد واژهها در سرکوب زنان؛نجيب وسليطه. Retrieved on 30 September 2011 from

Van Every, J. (1996) Heterosexuality and domestic life. In D. Richardson (ed.) Theorizing Heterosexuality: Telling it Straight 39–54. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Wei, L. (2009) Filter blogs vs. personal journals: understanding the knowledge production gap on the internet. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 14(3): 532–58.

Zarrokh, E. (2007) Analyses private relations in Iranian Civil Code. Retrieved on 14 August 2011 from


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Equinox Publishing Ltd - 415 The Workstation 15 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2BX United Kingdom
Telephone: +44 (0)114 221-0285 - Email:

Privacy Policy