We Need to Talk About Iran
For the last week, I’ve been trying to figure out how to talk about Iran. I didn’t want to write an angry rant against the patriarchy, religious zealots, and the lack of bodily autonomy for females. I wanted to be able to offer productive and helpful advice to my readers, but it’s hard to find anything to say other than fuck this! I’m just so sad and mad and I can’t believe this is 20 fucking 22 and people are dying over a woman’s choice whether or not to cover her hair!
In case you’re sitting there going, “Um, what’s going on in Iran, Jen? I know about Ukraine and Russia and Hurricane Ian, but I think I missed the memo about Iran” let me bring you up to speed.
A young 22-year-old woman named Mahsa Amini was visiting Tehran with her family. She was stopped by the “Morality Police.” The Morality Police arrest women for inappropriate clothing and behavior. They accused Mahsa of wearing her hijab inappropriately and they arrested her. While in their custody, Mahsa died. The circumstances of her death have been questioned by her family. They believe she was killed while the Morality Police say she died from a heart attack.
Now, I bet it’s not hard to guess what I think happened. Those motherfuckers killed her. One hundred percent. Yes, there’s video of Mahsa collapsing at the “re-education” center she was taken to and the Iranian government will say that’s her having a heart attack or a stroke, or whatever. I don’t think so. I think she’s collapsing from the fear. I think the severity and danger of her situation hit her and it was a system overload for her she went down.
Doesn’t really matter at this point. She’s dead. Because of the way she wore a piece of clothing.
Once news of Mahsa’s death reached the public, many women around the country went full-on revolution. This fight had been brewing for a while and Mahsa’s death was the match they needed. All different types of women were pissed as hell. Because this is not a political issue, it’s a human right issue. This is about women having bodily autonomy. Whether a woman wants to wear a hijab or not is a personal choice and should not be mandated by the government—and she should definitely not be killed for her choice.
Women took to the streets and started raging. And a lot of men joined them too, which was so cool to see! The women burned hijabs and cut their hair in defiance. They demanded change. But the government is fighting back. They’ve unleashed the police on these protesters, killing several.
I’ve been watching all the videos and news coming out of Iran and it’s all been heart-wrenching to see these people killed for fighting for their basic human rights. But the video that got me the most was this one:
There is some debate over who this young woman is, but everyone can agree that she tied her hair up into a ponytail and was murdered by the security forces seconds later.
This video got me because if you have a teenage girl, then you’ve seen your daughter do this numerous times a day. This is the way my daughter wears her hair almost every day. To think this woman was killed because of her ponytail is just insane.
And yet, is it?? There are a lot of people in the United States right now in positions of power who would love to have a society like this. In fact, they’ve been working really fucking hard to oppress women and marginalized people every chance they get.
Just last month my fellow Kansans and I had to come out and vote against an abortion bill that would have stripped women of their autonomy. The lawmakers who put up the bill were fucking shocked when they saw how many women voted against them. Old, young, liberal, conservative—it didn’t matter—tons of Kansas women came out and said, “Fuck you.”
And don’t even get me started on the way people of color are treated in this country. How many people have been killed in 2022 simply for their skin color?
We are not progressing, the world is regressing. And we have to dig in our heels the way the women of Iran are doing. We outnumber the oppressors. We’re just apathetic until it affects us. I get it. I’m the same way. But the time for apathy is over. We still have some freedom left in this country but it’s precious and tenuous and we can’t take it for granted.
But back to Iran because the protests are still going. At least, I think they are. The government has shut down all communications, so it’s hard to know for sure what’s going on there. But there are still journalists there reporting, so be sure to follow them on social media for updates. And the internet is down, but if anyone knows how to skirt around that shit, it’s Gen Z so I’m still seeing social media content coming out of there. (I swear, Gen Z should just be called the Honeybadger Generation. They will save us all.)
It can make you feel helpless to see this happening and wonder how to help.
I did some research and I found some ways we can help the people of Iran. If you can’t donate monetarily, that’s okay, just help spread the word. Amplify the stories coming out of Iran. Let our world leaders know they need to put pressure on Iran. And simply stand with the women of Iran. These are some of the bravest women I’ve seen and they need our support.
Also, I haven’t forgotten about Florida. This week, Hurricane Ian decimated a lot of cities and Floridians are hurting. Yes, their governor is an absolute piece of shit, but that shouldn’t stop us from helping.