An Iranian woman in legal dress. (Photo: Getty Images)
An Iranian woman served up two fistfuls of enough-of-this-crap after being hounded by a self-appointed decency cop in Iran. Annoyed to the end of her rope by the cleric telling her to cover up better, she turned on the guy and beat the daylights out of him, Gawker reports.
For people who share a more progessive, Western perspective on women’s rights, this kind of thing makes the heart race—race like the pointed end of the woman’s shoe as it tattooed the blubbering guy in the ribs.
After enduring injury added to insult, the cleric went complaining to the country’s state-run news agency, saying the incensed woman b-slapped him for doing his religious duty.
“I’m not a supporter of violence, but as a woman who grew up in Iran and was harassed many times for appearing in public in a way that was deemed un-Islamic, I understand the frustration that woman in Semnan must have felt and why she lashed out at the cleric,” writes a columnist for the news site’s “Persian Letters.”
Women in Iran are legally required to cover their hair and wear loose clothing to disguise their figures. Iran is also not the most free country when it comes to sexuality in general, as explored in the 2011 film Circumstance. (The North American rights to Circumstance were acquired by Participant Media, TakePart’s parent company, at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.)
But the Iranian lady with the iron fists is hardly the first woman to lash out at an overbearing dress code fanatic while walking out in public. Remember this Saudi Arabian woman in the mall who finally had enough of the endlessly annoying decency policeman stalking her?
Then there was that cadre of women last year who defied Saudi Arabia’s driving ban against women and got behind the wheel in protest. The women were for the most part stopped, admonished and sent home, The New York Times reports, but for others the penalties were more serious.
Manal al-Sharif, a single mother who posted videos of herself driving a car in the country, was later arrested for her crime by the morals police, the newspaper writes. She was jailed for nine days.
Women in Afghanistan have also reached the point of pushing back against men who roam the streets looking to mete out religious or moral authority.
Under the banner Young Women for Change, a group of Afghan women last year organized a march to protest street harassment by men in the country, according to Aljazeera.
The restrictions placed upon women and girls go beyond street dress and deceny harassment. For some Afgahn girls, just going to school is both defiant and courageous. Under the nose of the U.S. coalition forces, girls face death threats and violence for the simple act of trying to get an education.
But when young ladies brave acid attacks and bombings to attend a place of learning, their primary lesson may be that the oppression needs to end.
What will it take for women around the globe to be treated as equal citizens to men? Leave some transformative moments in COMMENTS.
Ben Murray has been a frontline correspondent for Stars and Stripes and a producer on The Deadliest Catch. A normally calm person, Ben gets all kinds of fired up by abuse of power and ignorance in high places. To keep from igniting, he writes about these topics and more and does his best to keep the profanity out of it. But every once in a while... earmuffs, kids.