Reflections on Feminism

A day of silence & off social media. The privilege of this. Of being able to tune out of the revolution that’s happening in real time back home, led by youth, by young women and girls, sparked by the brutal murder of Jina Mahsa Amini by a state that upholds femicide & violence against the type of women it deems as immoral, impious and indecent.

When I first immigrated to Canada in ‘87 as a 9-year old, I had already spent my formative years in Iran embodying the IR’s terror. Images of the ayatollah and clerics, like “big brother,” watched over us at school, on the streets, on tv, reminding us that as long as we were not *those* types of women, we were safe. As long as our body and behavior aligned with religiously-defined moral codes, we were worthy of safety.

So much trauma for Iranian women to unpack. Especially those that did not/could not leave. And those of us in the diaspora, we could never articulate our experience in a way that non-Iranians could understand. And in a post-911 world, with rampant Islamophobia, there was no space for us to speak critically of our state-induced religious trauma.

Muslim Iranians have never fully belonged to the wider Muslim community in the diaspora due to our complex relationship to the religion itself (plus being Shia). So it’s not a surprise that the biggest silence in this critical moment has been by non-Iranian Muslim social justice activists & feminists. At best, maybe a repost of a “both/and” analysis that focuses on “right to bodily sovereignty and the right of religious expression.” But this doesn’t speak to the experience of Iranian women. Solidarity means amplifying the voices of Iranian women who are risking it all against the violence of state-sponsored religious patriarchy.

As Iranian women, we know we’ve been abandoned by the global north’s intersectional feminist movement for some time. But it’s all good even if it’s not. Because look at what we’re capable of in spite of it all. And it’s breathtaking. Absolutely breathtaking.

Please continue to amplify Iranian voices from Iran.

Much love.

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