Women, life, freedom

Edith Dekyndt’s work entitled “Ombre Indigene”, is now the symbol of the Iranian women’s rebellion.

While, internationally, the classical concept of the political is dying, the space of feminism and queer feminism marks the new essence of the claim for a more democratic present and future.

Feminist cinematic action in the coming years will be the answer to the lack of contemporary democratic political proposals. “Freedom is realized only by enlisting in the world: so that man’s design for freedom is embodied in concrete behaviors,” Simone de Beauvoir rightly predicted that the project for women’s freedom and independence passes through the transformation of being their.

The oppressor, which varies and changes according to the context and the time, uses an established tactic, but its answer is not in the oppressive system, but instead in the hands of unfree women, who, realizing the dimension of their subjectivity, struggle and act emancipatingly against patriarchal, cultural and religious practices, which keep them captive and entrenched in certain illiberal norms.

The recent images from Tehran are majestic, expressive of women’s struggle for freedom and independence. The streets were already flooded since last Saturday. Women, femininities and men rushed to support the women’s struggle for liberation from the social, political and religious “tyrant”, with police forces responding with violent acts of repression. Seventy-six people have already been killed in recent incidents.

Women in Iran, from their childhood come into contact with the visible or invisible barbed wire, as a bad omen, which foreshadows the development of their adult life.

It is forbidden to circulate alone, without the accompaniment of a male person. As long as they are in a public place they must have their hair covered and their clothing be appropriate, they attend girls’ schools, up to primary education.

The majority of girls do not have access to the education system or those who do have the opportunity to attend, this is usually only possible up to the primary level, as they are then forced to marry.

Iranian women are forced to seek the prior permission of either a first-degree male relative, if they are unmarried, or from their husband for crucial issues, such as work, education, entering into and – possible – dissolution of marriage, of “proper” clothing and the possibility of movement, etc.. The shadowy veil of the theocratic framework makes the free and unfettered exercise of personality a distant dream for the female sex, which literally cannot breathe!

Marriages with minor girls

According to official UN data, as of the first half of 2021, marriages with underage girls between the ages of 10 and 14 total over sixteen thousand. The state practice of child marriage is also reflected in the legal framework, in the existing permissive rule of law regarding the possibility of a marriage contract with a particularly minor girl.

This choice by families to marry off their daughters from a very young age, often to older men, under the pretext of economic recovery reflects the sick notion of ownership over women’s lives. In addition, cases of domestic abuse are widespread, with no escape from the pathogenic environment. The list of bans is reminiscent of a tombstone to a life that didn’t even get to blossom.

They grow rapidly

Women in Iran grow up suddenly, without being able to know the possibility of free development of their personality, the free choice of their movements, the realization of their dreams, the warm kiss of lightning love. In an oppressive context, feeling the lack of security for themselves and the multiple external and internal dangers, they try to “live”. At the legal level, women are essentially assimilated to objects (res), as their existence is at the discretion of male persons first of their own family and then of their husband.

Women are second-class citizens, as the legal recognition of their personality is very limited. Their free choice and ability to express their opinion also encounters external obstacles. Women are deprived of their autonomy, experiencing an undignified and often humiliating situation both privately and publicly.

However, apart from the suffocating family bond, women are officially persecuted by the Iranian state itself, as the incidents of inhumane and degrading treatment of women have intensified recently, due to the inappropriate way of dressing or wearing the hijab, as can be seen from numerous unofficial reports in the UN. With the recent statements of the president of the Iranian state, Ebrahim Raishi, at the 77th UN General Assembly, claiming that the forensic examination did not confirm traces of physical abuse by the police.

Iran’s “morals police” known as Gasht-e Ershad (Guidance Patrols) are tasked with monitoring the implementation of religious Sharia law. 22-year-old Jina Amini (Mahsa was the name given to her by the regime), a woman of Kurdish origin, finally succumbed to the trauma, losing her life, on the sixteenth of September. In particular, Jina was arrested while accompanied by her brother, by the “morals” police, due to improper clothing, as she was wearing her hijab “loosely” and under unspecified circumstances during her transfer she was found fatally injured in the head, possibly from an attack by police officers.

The specific murderous act, in addition to the racial label, also has a racist character, as incidents of ill-treatment of people of Kurdish origin are observed in Iran.

The rebel women pay homage to the lost Jina, but indirectly to their own lost freedom, by burning the hijabs. Cutting their hair in public, marks a revolutionary and at the same time liberating act, as does their choice to be united on the street.

This act has a double reading, initially it declares their opposition to the authoritarian theocratic regime, which forbids them to cut their hair short and forces them to cover it in public places. Then, women’s hair was an archetypal symbol of female beauty and strength, women in various cultural traditions when in a state of mourning or mental pain decided to cut their hair, as a reflection of their emotional state.

Iranian women, however, managed to overturn the traditional reading and give a new dimension, where the dynamic movement of cutting hair symbolizes liberation from enslavement, unhooking from social and cultural burdens.

Certainly, the Western way of thinking may not be identical with the cultural, religious and social background of each country, nevertheless the right to the free and unfettered development of the personality, the right to the self-determination of the female body, are concepts with a universal dimension and pan-human character, which do not carry borders and discriminatory recruitments. In general, the need to democratize these countries, respecting the cultural mosaic, is deemed imperative.

Iranian women claim to choose for themselves, critical thinking in political and religious regimes may be the next step for them. But what is of primary importance is their unconditional recognition as free and independent personalities and the cessation of their police-controlled lives. After all, as Simone de Beauvoir notes “when the regime of female slavery is crushed, when woman will live for herself and her life will begin from herself, once she is freed from the man who now appeared abominable, then she will discover the unknown!”.

The article is in Greek

Tags: Women life freedom

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