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Self-centered feminists have already forgotten the women of Iran

New York Post logo: MainLogo New York Post 3/11/2023 Rikki Schlott

I enjoy more freedom than 99.999% of women to ever live.

Of course, that is thanks to the fact that I was born in the 21st century. But that’s only half of the story. My position is a blessing of both time and place.

While I was born in America, others have been less geographically fortunate — like Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Iranian girl who was exactly my age last September when the morality police in Tehran arrested her for allegedly wearing her hijab — the traditional Islamic head-covering — improperly and exposing her hair. She lost her life for that crime after police brutally beat her.

The result of her death has been unprecedented, widespread and sustained protests in Iran for months on end.

Young women are at the helm of this movement, setting their hijabs ablaze at protests across the country while and chanting “Jin, Jian, Azadi!” (“woman, life, freedom!”) in rebellion against the Iranian regime—which forces women to wear a hijab starting at puberty, dictates which jobs they are allowed to have, and even imprisons women’s rights activists.

And a majority of congress managed to agree reecently on supporting a bill that backs a secular, democratic government in Iran—now, feminist activists should follow suit.”

This is a fight for women’s basic rights unfolding in real-time for the rest of the world to see. In the first days of the protest, many — including young American women — took to social media in acts of solidarity.

But our attention span has proven too short, and the outrage has fizzled out.

© Provided by New York Post Mahsa Amini, the 22 year-old Iranian woman whose death at the hands of Iran’s religious authorities sparked the nation’s ongoing women-led protests. IranWire via REUTERS

This ongoing battle in Iran now begs the question: Where are the mass protests here in America? Where is the outrage? Where are all the feminists?

I’m not the only one wondering. Iranian-American dissident and women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad asked the very same question on “Real Time with Bill Maher” in September.

“The first group who came to the streets were women of Afghanistan,” she said of the initial international response to the Tehran protests. “Can you believe that? The Western feminists who actually went to my country, wore a hijab, and bowed to the Taliban—they didn’t take to the streets.”

She’s right. It’s remarkable that women in Afghanistan who aren’t even allowed to leave their home without a male guardian under Taliban rule took to the streets en masse in solidarity with their Iranian sisters.

Meanwhile, here in America where there are zero consequences for joining the fight, activism has been relatively minimal.

© Provided by New York Post A scene from inside Iran where a woman stands brave, her hair uncovered and hijab nowhere in sight. Such brazen displays of outrage have been missing from American feminists. UGC/AFP via Getty Images

Alinejad supposed that some Western feminists may be too afraid to criticize the fundamentalist Islamic regime, lest they be deemed politically incorrect.

“Most of them have never gone and lived under Sharia law,” she said of Western feminists. “And they don’t even let us talk about our own experiences.

Here they tell me, ‘Shh! If you talk about this, you’re going to cause Islamophobia.’ Phobia is irrational, but believe me my fear and the fear of millions of Iranian women is rational.”

Perhaps they’re silent out of a fear of being labeled Islamaphobic. Or perhaps they’re just too myopic to look beyond our borders.

After all, American feminists are awfully busy parsing out how oppressed we are.

© Provided by New York Post Iranian-American dissident and women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad has publicly chastised her American sisters for their lack of leadership during the ongoing Iran crisis. Getty Images

Tone-deaf activists are hard at work on TikTok combatting white feminism, parsing out oppression based on intersecting identities, arguing over whether trans women are more oppressed than cisgender women and bemoaning the microaggressions they claim to experience.

Women in America have made huge strides toward equality. When you’re bickering over “microaggressions,” you’re clearly running out of problems to complain about.

Yet we continue to obsess over our supposed oppression, ignoring the women across the world who are being denied basic rights.

And it’s not just feminist influencers who are guilty here—this narcissistic discourse goes all the way to the top. 

Take the example of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who made history as the youngest woman ever to serve in congress at just 29.

She enjoys more influence and attention than nearly all her colleagues. She could — and should — be a great role model whose message to young women is: “Yes we can!”

© Provided by New York Post Although she did manage to send an early Tweet in support of the female Iran protestors, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez somehow managed to make it about herself. She’s been noticeably quiet about the unrest ever since. Getty Images For The Met Museum/Vogue

Instead, she’s too busy bemoaning her own existence, even going as far as to declare that she will never be president because “so many people in this country hate women.”

To her credit, AOC mustered up enough energy to send a tweet in “solidarity” with women in Iran. But she couldn’t make it through a single 280-character post without also making it about women here in America who clearly far less imperiled.

“Mahsa Amini was senselessly murdered by the same patriarchal and autocratic forces repressing women the world over,” she wrote. “The right to choose belongs to us all, from hijabs to reproductive care.”

Of course, the abortion debate is important and consequential for American women. But likening pro-lifers to a fundamentalist regime that beats 22-year-old women to death over a visible strand of hair is perhaps the most spectacular false equivalency in recent memory.

And it’s illustrative of how feminism in America has lost the plot.

There is a fundamental fight underway on the other side of the world. It’s plainly visible on social media — and women my age are at the helm.

© Provided by New York Post Women across the world, such as these protestors in Brussels, have risked their lives to demand an end to gender-based oppression in Iran. Too bad so few American women have joined the chorus. AFP via Getty Images

By January, nearly 20,000 arrests and more than 500 deaths were traceable to the protests. Iranian medics report that female protesters are being shot in the faces, breasts, and genitals.

Right now, poison gas terror attacks are being perpetrated against Iranian schoolgirls simply trying to get an education.

If there’s a place in the world that demands feminists’ attention right now, it’s Iran. Feminism is a global fight, not just a domestic one.

We must put our culture wars aside for a brief moment and allow the women of Iran to take center stage.

If Afghan women are able to stand in solidarity in the face of the Taliban, we have no excuse for not doing the same.

Women in America are standing on the shoulders of feminist giants who fought for our freedoms. Now, it’s incumbent on us to reach down and extend a hand to women across the globe. 

If Western feminists can manage to pull their heads out of their pussy hats for just a moment, perhaps they will notice the life-or-death struggle of their sisters overseas.


New York Post

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