The veil has been at the center of much political and cultural controversy. Regimes have tried to impose both veiling and unveiling policies in company with other dress codes as a means to bolster their national image. Iran serves as a fascinating case study in understanding how and why regimes use gender relations as an instrument to undermine other forces of authority and other identities within the state. The use of women bodies in this discussion of hegemonizing the state's identity becomes pivotal in understanding how a state chooses to assert its authority and influence over women’s lives. To wear nail polish, practice “bad veiling,” or wearing dresses a little too short or too conservative has become a sign of rejection and opposition. This thesis examines the juxtaposition, mechanism, and implementation of these two Iranian coercive regimes: modernizing Pahlavi Regimes (1925-1979) and the Islamic Republic (1979 to today).
Key terms: modesty, gender politics, subaltern states, nationalism, and dress codes