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A Comparison of American and Iranian Culture

The USA and Iran are countries with radically different cultural values and traditions. Iranian culture has been formed throughout centuries. On the other hand, American culture is much younger, and its values are not as old and influential as Iranian. Most differences between cultures and traditions of various countries can be revealed through the comparison of notions, such as privacy, time and equality. An examination of these notions will help to understand the fundamental differences between these two countries better.

Privacy is one of the most important features of Americans. However, many American families are not very hospitable. At the same time, Americans may lead luxurious lifestyles. Houses of many American families are well furnished and equipped with costly digital technologies or other luxurious facilities. In contrast to American culture, Iranian culture is much more hospitable. However, living standards in Iran are much lower. Iranians might not have their houses equipped with digital technologies or luxurious furniture. A necessary element of Iranian everyday culture is a carpet. Carpets are usually used in rooms as a part of decorations. Furthermore, Iranians use carpets to sleep, work and celebrate some holidays on it.

One aspect that is also worth mentioning in terms of privacy is divorce. American society believes that divorce is completely normal. It can be proved by the fact that the number of divorces increases each year. One of the reasons for this increase is a materialistic goal. However, in Iranian culture divorce is frowned upon and criticized. The commission of such an act is a shame and disgrace. In most cases, Iranian couples and families have strong and supportive relationship.

Americans spend their time in different ways. They can go to the cinema, a baseball game, a party, a restaurant, a theater, play team sports and many others. It is reported that both American men and women spend about half their leisure time watching television. Iranians do not have such possibilities of using these facilities. Therefore, they spend time differently from Americans. Such entertainments as storytelling and writing fairy tales, reading of famous writers have become common for all Iranians. Some Iranian nations such as the Kurds and Lurs, spend their leisure time in the form of meetings. During those meetings they read Shahnameh Ferdowsi and other epic works. It allows participants to spend time in a relaxed atmosphere and enjoy beautiful lines of a given work.

Men and women in the USA have equal rights. There are no limits with regard to any of the sexes. Moreover, the feminist movement is very popular in the United States. Also, the image of a typical business-woman is becoming famous in the society. As a result, the goal of many girls at a young age is not to create a strong family but to build a successful career. American women may sometimes be even more successful than American men. Sexual relations outside of marriage are allowed for both women and men. The situation with equality is opposite in Iran. First of all, people in Iran experience gender inequality. In September 2012, Iranian women were prohibited from studying at universities. The main reason was the fact that it was impossible for women to study 80 subjects such as nuclear physics, cybernetics, and English literature. However, an attempt to reduce the number of women in higher education aims to increase the birth rate in the country. In Iran, men and women are divided in public transport. There are even two separate queues of men and women to the cash desk. Sexual relations of women outside of marriage (temporary or permanent) are prohibited. The penalty for that is death. Another fact of inequality is that men are allowed to marry several women (polygamy). However, polygamy can be done only in case if the wife agrees.

Cultures of Iran and the USA are different in nearly every way. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. All the disadvantages of American culture are on the moral level. On the other hand, in Iran law sets moral principles and has a great influence on the culture. To my mind, the best option of development of an ideal culture is a combination of all the best that there is in the United States (education, science) and spirituality that we can see in Iran.

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