Can we hope that Iran, now in turmoil over many things, will try to stabilize itself by allowing its women simple human decency? In the last few weeks, two women have been arrested for removing their headscarves (20 years in jail!) or for posting pictures on social media of themselves dancing. These are religious offenses, and are deemed such because they inspire the lust of men. (Women, of course bear full responsibility for whatever men do when engorged with uncontrollable lust.)
The first detainee, Shaparak Shajarizadeh (click on screenshot below) was apparently sentenced to two decades in stir for removing the hijab in protest of its compulsory wearing, and for “waving a white flag of peace in the street.” (White Wednesdays, in which women wear clothing of that color, are part of women’s protest against Iranian oppression.) Note that the story was not verified by Iranian authorities.
And here’s a story from the Guardian (click on screenshot, also see story in the July 9 New York Times) about a woman being arrested for posting an Instagram video (see below) of herself dancing.
This innocuous video was deemed dangerous enough to warrant the arrest of Maedeh Hojabri:
— Negar Mortazavi (@NegarMortazavi) July 8, 2018
From the story about Hojabri New York Times, which described on July 9 the kind of public morality shaming that women like Hojabri are subjected to.
Like many teenage girls, Maedeh Hojabri liked to dance in her bedroom, record it and post clips to Instagram.
But Ms. Hojabri lives in Iran, where women are not allowed to dance, at least not in public. The 19-year-old was quietly arrested in May and her page was taken down, leaving her 600,000 followers wondering where she had gone.
The answer came last Tuesday on state television, when some of her fans recognized a blurred image of Ms. Hojabri on a show called “Wrong Path.”There she sobbingly admitted that dancing is a crime and that her family had been unaware she had videos of herself dancing in her bedroom to Western songs like “Bonbon,” by Era Istrefi.
Whatever the authorities’ intent, the public shaming of Ms. Hojabri and the arrest of others who have not been identified have created a backlash in a society already seething over a bad economy, corruption and a lack of personal freedoms.]
But there are signs that not just Iranian women are supporting the freedom to dress without veiling and to dance in public, but Iranians in general. As the Times notes,
Last week the judiciary warned that Instagram, which has 24 million users in Iran, might be closed because of its “unwanted content.” Ms. Hojabri, and other internet celebrities like her are called “antlers” by hard-liners for the way they stand out on Instagram.
But the public seems squarely on the side of Ms. Hojabri. “Really what is the result of broadcasting such confessions?” one Twitter user, Mohsen Bayatzanjani, wrote, using special software to gain access to Twitter, which is also banned in Iran. “What kind of audience would be satisfied? For whom would it serve as a lesson, seriously?”
Western feminists shy away from these kinds of violations, so that hijabis are often viewed as heroes though many of them are unwilling victims of Islamic morality. This represents the victory of skin pigmentation (Muslims are perceived as “oppressed brown people”, though many are lighter than I am and they’re hardly oppressed in places like Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia) over feminism. The hierarchy of oppression is clear—skin color > sex—but why Muslim women in their own countries are seen as immune to oppression, or ignored by Western feminists, defies rational analysis. You won’t find a post like this one on most of the feminist websites.
In the meantime, however, Iranian women themselves know what’s going on, and are dancing in public in support of Hojabri. I am saddened but also heartened by this video of Iranian women dancing. If you want a running account of oppression, including both men and women, just go to #Iran.
A similar sentiment from the British gay activist Peter Tatchell:
Iran sentences woman to 20 years jail for removing headscarf = abuse of human rights. Shame on western liberals & feminists for not supporting their counterparts in Iran. I stand with them. They are heroes of the global human & gender rights struggle. SEE https://t.co/rMRk6zWzoV
— Peter Tatchell (@PeterTatchell) July 17, 2018