Dating in the USA: The Transformation of Dating and Relationship Norms for Iranian American Immigrants to the US Over the Last Four Decades
MetadataShow full item record
While Iran has had periods where a strong theocratic government was not in power, Iranian culture has always held a more traditional stance against the expression of women’s sexuality and a more nonchalant stance towards men’s. Women were expected to remain “pure and chaste” while men had a great deal more freedom with their comings and goings. For many immigrants who were raised in that culture many years ago, those rules remained hard and fast even after coming to the US. Forty years ago, even for less religious families, a Khastegari where Mehrieh and prenuptial agreements were discussed by the families (and not the bride and groom to be) was not uncommon for Iranian immigrants to the US. A great deal of research has been conducted to study the relationship and dating trends of Iranian immigrants to the US from the years surrounding the revolution and some years after. However, the changes in relationship and dating norms for Iranian immigrants to the US over time hasn’t been observed or document. As a result, I decided to address the question of how the dating and relationship norms for Iranian American immigrants have changed over the last four decades. In conducting this research I utilized both ethnographic methods to establish firsthand accounts and surveyed the pertinent secondary literature. I interviewed Iranian immigrants to the US and came between the ages of 13-25. The interviewees were approximately evenly split between men and women and were put into one of four categories, those who came from: the mid 1970’s to the mid 1980’s, the mid 1980’s to the mid 1990’s, the mid 1990’s to the mid 2000’s, and the mid 2000’s until present. Interviewees were asked about their views regarding sex both outside of and within a dating relationship, their degree of religious observance, their views on marriage and the traditional Iranian customs, surrounding marriage, what factors they consider when assessing someone as either a potential partner or spouse, and their views regarding dating people who are not Iranian. While there is existing secondary literature on the subject much of it focuses on immigrants who came during the time period surrounding the revolution until the mid 1990’s, with very little of the literature looking into the trends around the early to mid 2000’s. There is almost no literature, however, relating to the late 2000’s until the mid to late 2010’s. Consequently this research is especially important because there is a gap on understanding more recent dating trends for Iranian immigrants to the US, which is necessary in order to understand longterm trends.