American Feminists Embarrassingly Silent on Iran Protests
Even as a brave woman has become the symbolic face of the Iranian protests, American feminists have remained embarrassingly silent.
A few days ago, a young Iranian woman removed her hijab and stood silently, waving a white shawl tied to a pole like a flag. Photos and videos of her have gone viral, and her image has become a symbol of the protests, with social media users using an image of her as their profile photo.
Liberal feminist groups in America have been busy this year, knitting pink hats with cat ears, organizing marches, dressing up like characters from The Handmaid’s Tale, and tweeting their #Resistance panic that the Trump administration will soon chain all of us ladies in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, where we’ll be forced to make sandwiches and watch Archie Bunker.
With all that worrying about rights being taken away from us, you’d think that a story about women who are actually facing systemic gender-based oppression would be an obvious rallying cry.
As conservative author Christina Sommers noted, “the silence of major feminist groups in the USA is deafening.”
I double checked the groups listed by Sommers to see if they had mentioned Iran since her December 30th tweet. Nope, although the National Women’s Law Center did tweet a stylish little video clip complaining about how 2017 was so “hard” and “brutal.”
Republicans don’t want to force nuns and Christian organizations to pay for birth control pills? Betsy DeVos supports (the Constitutionally-guaranteed) due process rights for those accused of sexual assault on college campuses? Well, that’s definitely as bad as women in Iran facing arrest or police-run mandatory “reeducation” if they fail to perfectly comply with a strict Islamic dress code.
Hollywood celebrity feminists — Madonna, Bette Midler, Ashley Judd, Lena Dunham, and many more — have been similarly silent. There’s not even any #MeToo hashtag activism for the Iranian women.
Linda Sarsour, the national co-chair of the Women’s March who has argued that the hijab is empowering for women, kept silent about the Iranian protests until today, when she attempted to tie the protests to the Trump administration’s travel ban.
The Iranian protests have nothing to do with the travel ban. The Iranian people aren’t taking to the streets because they want to come to America; they are protesting because they want improvements, more freedom and less corruption, in their own country.
And while there are legitimate concerns about the details of the travel ban, the fact is that the Iranian government refuses to cooperate with the United States regarding background checks and identity verification. That alone is a legitimate reason for concern, regardless of your opinion of Trump and his policies.
Sarsour’s Women’s March co-chair, Tamika Mallory, has also remained silent, offering no tweets of support for Iranian women who actually face arrest when they march.
Considering the amount of outrage we’ve seen from these feminists over demands that taxpayers cover the costs of birth control pills (usually less than $20 a month), the fact they can’t even be bothered to tweet in support of Iranian women fighting true oppression speaks volumes about their priorities.
Maybe if that Iranian woman wanted to get an abortion without wearing a hijab, then they might be bothered to care?
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.