Two promising studies published by universities in Iran showed heartwarming and scientifically backed realities. Iranian men, especially in the younger generations, increasingly support women's rights and oppose violence against them.
Both studies targeted male student populations in Iran's Mazandaran province and the city of Mashhad in the Razavi Khorasan Province.
The study conducted in Mazandaran was published in the Journal of Women Social and Psychological Studies, a quarterly publication of the Al-Zahra University, an all-female university in Tehran. Their objective was to explore the sociological mechanics behind male attitudes towards violence against women.
The study used social learning theory as applied to the view of liberal feminism and surveyed close to 400 male students enrolled in the academic year of 2020-2022. The study revealed that most participants "had a negative attitude towards violence against women."
Statistical analysis performed by the authors showed that the perceived qualities of significant others, traditional attitude towards women, perceived rewards, and traditional marital role expectations have the most significant impact on the attitude towards violence against women.
The authors concluded that "the attitude towards violence against women is not inevitable." Instead, it is "influenced by the structure and ideology of the society and the individual's social ties." The study also found that the "rewards and punishments received" significantly affect their views.
The study published in the Applied Issues in Islamic Education by researchers from the Ferdowsi University revealed a strikingly similar result. Although the study aimed to establish a male's motivation and the obstacles in observing chastity, the study yielded a surprisingly positive result in opposition to violence against women.
The study's qualitative design allowed for a clear glimpse of some of the realities in Iran not usually covered by the media.
Several participants of the study openly "attacked the strictly religious and traditional laws constraining free, consent-based relationships between men and women," IranWire, reported. Other responses ridiculed notions of traditional masculinity such as honor and “protective jealousy,” calling them backward traits.
Although the study's results and conclusion stayed within the objectives intended by the researchers, the participants' “modern, libertarian view of marriage and marital obligations" revealed belief systems that oppose violence against women.
One study participant explained that a person's experience before marriage “has nothing to do with the person he or she will marry in the future." Another expressed a liberal notion of equality, saying, "equal rights for men and women are now accepted." "Even my sister's relationships are her own business," the participant added.