Go the other way: an Iranian woman succeeds in car beauty

In Tehran, Maryam Roohani is breaking ground and gender stereotypes to pursue her dream of working as a car polisher in the male-dominated auto industry. Now she is training and motivating other women to do the same.
On a traffic jam in the Iranian capital Tehran, this is a male-only club located in the chaos of an auto repair shop. Among them, workers worked in the dim garage, welding and wrenching, manufacturing and painting.
Until Maryam Roohani suddenly appeared from under the hood of a car repair shop in northeast Tehran, her dusty and greased uniform was put on black jeans, and her long hair was stuffed into a baseball cap. In her works, this replaced Iran’s mandatory Islamic headscarf for women, or headscarves.
Polish a blue BMW sedan in the shop until it gleams and she is farther away from her childhood farm. In the Agh Mazar tribe village near the border with Turkmenistan in northeastern Iran, girls married after puberty and devoted themselves to raising children.
“I’m a bit of a taboo,” Ms. Rouhani said in the garage, where she carefully painted the car with eye-catching flashes and scraped off the sludge from the engine. “When I chose this path, I met opposition.”
The automotive industry is still dominated by men all over the world, let alone in the traditional Islamic Republic. Over the years, Iranian women, especially women in cities, have made progress. They now account for more than half of all university graduates and a considerable part of the labor force.
As the daughter of a farmer, Ms. Rouhani, like most other children of Agh Mazar, grew up on this land. But unlike her five siblings, she set her sights on her father’s tractor and developed an incredible knack for driving it at a very young age.
Even though she worked as a hairdresser in the provincial capital Bojnurd and studied to be a makeup artist, she was attracted by a greater passion: painting a car with a finish.
What dismissed the villagers and some family members was that she exchanged her old car for extra cash and dreamed of becoming a car polisher and beautician. Although relatives opposed her and severed contact, her father was more open-minded and supported her desperately, asking her to postpone her marriage in order to pursue her love of polishing.
She could not find the international car polishing training program in the wheat and barley fields of North Khorasan Province, which was not available in other parts of the country at the time. So she flew to Turkey, where she fought against male skeptics to obtain her car polishing certificate.
With her credentials, she opened a shop in a small rented space in a garage in Tehran. Customers flocked to marvel at the region’s first female car beautician to take pictures and share footage on social media. Her Instagram account and her online profile as Iran’s “beauty expert” continue to grow.
She recalled that some people contaminated her polishing pad with acid to burn off the paint of customers’ cars. She said that other people tampered with her machine and tore up the expensive cushions she bought with her life savings. There is nowhere to go for complaints against the garage owner, and there is no conclusive evidence and the police can do nothing.
Ms. Rouhani wanted to run away after that. But her reputation caught the attention of a famous car shop in Tehran, which suddenly offered her a job. In the past few years, she has been realizing her dream to become a professional car polisher, beautician and cleaner.
Ms. Rouhani is even now training and motivating other women to do the same regardless of obstacles. Her online videos include her working hard to polish a vintage Chevelle or smiling on the hood of a brand new dark BMW, so smooth that a plastic cup slides down it.
“I was very excited when I saw [Rohani] for the first time, because in Iran, due to restrictions on women, we are usually not trusted to do this kind of work,” Faranaz Dravi, one of Ms. Rouhani’s trainees (Farahnaz Deravi) said.
Since former President Donald Trump withdrew from the landmark nuclear agreement reached between Tehran and world powers and imposed severe sanctions, Iran’s interest in auto repair work has surged. In order to preserve its foreign exchange, Iran banned the import of cars made in Asia and Europe, causing the price of cars to quadruple. Iranians who are capable of owning expensive cars cherish them more than ever and pay huge sums to maintain status symbols.
Although Ms. Rouhani’s business is booming, Iran’s economy is struggling with a series of growing crises, including international isolation and raging epidemics. Ms. Roohani now envisions her future as a professional beautician abroad, and hopes that one day she can start her own business somewhere in Europe.
Monitoring news changes lives because we opened the box that most people think they live in is too small. We believe that journalism can and should expand a sense of identity and possibilities beyond narrow traditional expectations.
About a year ago, I happened to see a statement about monitors in the Harvard Business Review-under the fascinating headline “Do Things You Are Not Interested in”:
Social scientist Joseph Grenny wrote, “Many things are ultimately meaningful”, “From conferences, seminars, articles, or online videos, these things started as a chore and ended with insight. For example, my work in Kenya is deep. Influenced by the Christian Science Monitor article that I forced myself to read 10 years ago. Sometimes we call things’boring’ just because they are beyond our current scope.”
If you come up with a punch line about a monitor joke, that might be it. We are considered global, fair, and insightful, maybe a little too serious. We are the bran muffins of the press.
But did you know? We change lives. I want to argue that we change our lives precisely because we forcibly opened the too small box in which most people think they live.
The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that is difficult for the whole world to understand. We are run by the church, but we not only serve the members of the church, we are not trying to change people’s beliefs. Even if the world becomes so polarized, at any time since the newspaper was founded in 1908, we are still known for fairness.
We have a mission beyond circulation, and we want to bridge differences. We have to knock on the door of thought anywhere and say: “You are greater and more capable than you realize. We can prove this.”
If you are looking for bran muffin news, you can subscribe to Monitor for $15. You will get Monitor Weekly magazine, Monitor Daily email and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.
Your subscription to the Christian Science Monitor has expired. You can renew or continue to use the site without a subscription.
If you have any questions about your account, please contact customer service or call 1-617-450-2300.
If you have any questions about your account, please contact customer service or call 1-617-450-2300.
If you have any questions about your account, please contact customer service or call 1-617-450-2300.

Post time: Jul-22-2021