Dressed for success: Hegemonic masculinity, Elite men and westernisation in Iran, c.1900-40

Sivan Balslev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


From the late nineteenth century until the mid-twentieth century, men of an emerging western-educated Iranian elite utilised knowledge, practices and objects originating from western countries to reach and preserve a hegemonic position in their society. This article follows the appropriation of western knowledge and education, along with western clothes and manners, and explores how these became essential components of a new hegemonic masculinity in Iran. It also describes the criticism this model of masculinity met from conservative segments of society and the manner in which men of the western-educated elite dealt with this - by giving new meanings to the criticism and redirecting it towards non-elite men. Thus, men of the western-educated elite appropriated 'correct' westernisation and excluded non-elite men from it and from the new model of hegemonic masculinity. The new model was further promoted during the reign of Reza Shah (1926-41), when dress laws enforced western attire upon all Iranian male lay citizens, a move which entrenched the social and political hegemony of westernised men as well.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)545-564
Number of pages20
JournalGender and History
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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