Home > Articles > Targeting women as second sexes /Azadeh Davachi

Targeting women as second sexes /Azadeh Davachi

Sunday 16 May 2010, by admin

Feminist School:The recent Iran’s presidential election has disclosed new policies of suppressing women by Iranian government and the fundamentalist’s leaders. Although these kinds of suppressions have been practiced during last 30 years; these purposeful attacks lead to creating a new form of suppressions by religious leaders. During the recent years Islamic feminism paved a way for emerging new voices of women activities ; however this time and this form of suppression put much pressure on women activists than before , in a sense that all those accomplishments achieved by the feminist activists were gone through a radical changes. During this time and especially after the aftermath presidential disputes and protests, the government began to target women as motivated and activated oppositions who stood at the forefront of public protests. The fact is that Iranian women always have been forcefully marginalized by the state. The state remained as the main domain of suppression; which in effect put the question of women at the margins of all spheres of social, political and cultural life. However, women especially during the recent decades strived to come into public arena by proposing new grounds of women social and political debates, yet they face with the marginalization by the state that becomes more severe in recent years. In other words, feminism debates as the main basis of Iranian women’s movement could encourage a majority of women in recent public protests. Women participated as active and motivated individuals during all protests. Due to all of these facts, the recent reactions of the government are to target women activists and their supporters. But the question will be raised here why do they target women this time? Is it related to the policy of marginalization which always has been imposed by the state upon women’s activists?

As we have observed throughout these years the government and its security forces has made Political women activists to confess in jail by using sexual assaults and abuses. They always have been aware of the fact that proposing sexual desires outspokenly has been considered as taboos and have been prevalent in Iranian culture. They use this way to oblige any female convicts to get the privileges of confessing on the basis of whatever they have been accused of. In some cases, the security forces and plainclothes ask the convict to imagine sexual scenes, to remind them that they are inadvertently the victims of their power; in other words power is being practiced on female convicts by employing various means of sexual assaults and harassments. In some other cases, another policy has been utilized by those commissioners. The male convicts were obliged to confess whatever has been dictated to them by threatening the convict in a way that if they are not acquiescent to confess on what have been asked for; their female members of their family will be exposed to sexual harassments. In other terms, they use this way to overbear them for better confessions. Yet there are some cases of sexual harassments and assaults that always have been used by the state to estrange the activists from their own rights and positions. Nevertheless, these are the means of power which have been practiced by the security forces and plainclothes to make every convict to confess in accordance with their desires. These examples of targeting women as second sexes and by utilizing sexual assaults do not end up here. In one of TV show which was shown a few weeks ago, Shirin Ebadi’s husband (Javad Tavasolian) confessed in the governmental TV about the fault behaviors of his wife (Shirin Ebadi) in front of millions of people. In this show the state targeted women as the main reason of social and cultural disorders. Shirin Ebadi’s husband confessed that he never had a good relationship with his wife. And he was obliged to sign a form and to promise his wife that they are equal in their mutual life. Then Mr. Tavasolian claimed that he had never agreed with his wife’s social and political activities there has always been some sort of obligation in their private relationship. Making propaganda from the individual’s private life has never been advised by any religion and in any tradition. It’s an obscure policy of the state to blemish women activists’ respectability that are not currently living in Iran and always have been attended as the main resistance to the state. Another thing that happened in relation to targeting women’s activities is that the state put pressures on women’s clothing by dismissing women who do not follow Islamic dress codes. Moreover there are patrol guards around Tehran and some other major cities; they arrest those women who are according to their claim known as “Bad hejab†or “Mal-veil†. In this situation these guards fine women who are not well covered, in some other cases they send them the fine papers. As we have observed during this recent year the suppression of women took another aspect. Women are being more suppressed than before and most women activists were detained. But the question here is that how these behaviors will find their justification in our religion? By putting sexual assaults and sexual harassments as the means of punishments, by making these artificial confessions against the women activists and by targeting their private life and bringing into the public arena are women really being suppressed? The experiences during the last thirty years revealed the fact that women have always being continuing their resistance towards these suppressions. it’s worth noting that the resistance of Iranian women is now going on to enter in a new theoretical framework where they now neutralize the polices and the efforts of fundamentalists on marginalizing women’s presence in various public spheres. They now are more determined than before to possess a framework for their further resistance. As it seems, this time the main focus of fundamentalists are women themselves which carries out through suppressing women as the main potential powers. Meantime they will find the chance to suppress more population and more protests in the current situation. The fact is that by doing such behaviors the feminist movement will be much determined to focus its main debates on liberating women both as social and cultural individuals. As women activists we have to stand against the attacks of fundamentalism which is done by various policies toward women activists. Thus the women’s movement will not stop in any case; rather it has to focus its power on strengthening its goals. These kinds of behaviors only will limit the actions of the state and will empower the energies and potential forces of thousands women who are now much more willing to object to their situation. They will make women to become more united in order to stand against the fundamentalists’ aims and in near future these coalitions and supporting will spell out a new form of civil and individual’s democracy and equality demands for all Iranian women activists.

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