“Women, Life, Freedom” - protest in Iran


Dayne Goodwin
 

How Iran’s Hijab Protest Movement Became So Powerful
by Isaac Chotiner, New Yorker, October 2, 2022
https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/fatemah-shams-how-irans-hijab-protest-movement-became-so-powerful

Four decades after the Islamic Revolution, simmering tensions have come to a head. What sets the current wave of protests apart from those that came before?
To talk about the situation, I recently spoke by phone with the Iranian scholar Fatemeh Shams, who has been living in exile since 2009. Shams teaches Persian literature at Penn
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But here, the focus, the core of this revolutionary movement, is the bodily autonomy of women, and reclaiming the bodily autonomy of women. This slogan comes from the Kurdish freedom movement, and is a result of decades of grassroots activities and efforts of Kurdish women in one of the most economically deprived regions of Iran, the Kurdish provinces. The Kurdish women of Kurdistan and Turkey used this slogan for the first time. And Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the emancipatory Kurdish movement, in 1998 gave a very famous speech in which he said that women are basically the first captives in history and until they’re not liberated, any emancipatory movement, in fact, will be doomed to fail.
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So I think from here onward, there will be a nationwide strike to stop collaborating with the government. And I think that will definitely change the face of this moment. It’s very difficult. I think whoever claims that he or she can tell or foresee the future of what’s going on today in Iran is wrong, and a little bit also deluded. I think we should be very, very careful with making assumptions and judgments at this point. But another thing that I think is really important is that we see a new generation of Iranians between seventeen and thirty years old in the streets, and their values and their norms are entirely different even from those of us who were born in the nineteen-eighties.

We also see a change in gender-related norms and values. These are the concepts that refer to virtue and honor, and traditionally relate to the male protection of females virtues, and the female body. You see today in the streets, these two notions have been completely, entirely reversed. You see that men are actually standing side-by-side women, and they’re protecting them. But they’re protecting them against the oppressive forces of the state. So the heterogeneous norms of the society have changed and have been reversed. Even if they brutally oppress this movement right now, it’ll erupt again.
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