"The reality of contemporary feminism in Iran is that resistance is an essential part of a woman's experience. As a result, women are very tough, the exact opposite of the outside image we have of these women. My attempt has always been to reveal, in a very candid way, the layers of unpredictability and strength that are not so evident on the surface."
--Shirin Neshat, 2000
"I had been working on the subject of the female body in relation to politics in Islam and the way in which a woman's body has been a type of battleground for various kinds of rhetoric and political ideology. Recently, through some reading, I became very interested in how space and special boundaries are also politicized and are designed to lift personal and individual desire from the public domain and contain it within private spaces. Ultimately, men dominate public spaces and women exist for the most part in private spaces . . . "
--Shirin Neshat, 1997
Many of Neshat's works relate to women's rights in conflict with contemporary Islamic practice, which dictates strict rules for women's behavior and mode of dress. But the artist cautions that feminist ideas from the United States may not apply to feminists in Iran. Equality between women and men is a goal often associated with U.S. feminism. Neshat, however, believes that Iranian feminists don't desire equality with men. They accept and respect differences between men and women, and seek rights that serve women as equal partners with men, but with different roles in society.