Photos: Iran's Female Ninjas Show Their Strength

By Max Fisher

A few of the country's 3,500 practitioners demonstrate their skills -- and cut down a few misconceptions about Iranians.

About 3,500 Iranian women are currently training to be ninjas, a trend I wrote about earlier this month. Though the country's restrictions on women are some of the most severe in the world, Iranian women are far from the weak, helpless creatures the Islamic Republic seems to consider them. Sports, and martial arts in particular, apparently including ninjutsu, are a way for Iranian women to express the strength and self-empowerment that the state has tried and failed to deny them.

Ten days after the Atlantic story ran, Reuters sent Iranian photographer Caren Firouz to visit some of the country's female ninjutsu schools. The students, it seems, were eager to show off their skills, which look awfully real, and his photos are impressive. Perhaps they will serve as a reminder, both to medieval-minded rulers inside Iran and the many curious people outside of it, that even if gender laws there are from the eighth century, its women are not.

Go here to read more about Iran's female ninjas, why they do it, and the challenges they face.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/02/photos-irans-female-ninjas-show-their-strength/253161/