I am focusing on women in these posts because I think their participation in the political process counterdicts the depiction of Muslim women, especially in hijab, as completely oppressed and forcibly absent from governance. Their active presence in the Iranian people’s attempt to ensure the franchise and representation by a President who is neither seemingly corrupt nor committed to extremes that may ultimate oppress women also reminds that feminism is not just a product of the West; feminism exists in all countries, put forward by the urge of women around the world to be treated as equal, and any decolonized feminism comes to the table ready to listen to the women who live every day in the community in which action is taking place and who take action for equality when the world is watching and when it is not. These are some of those women and I honor their struggle:
The number of women involved in the protests has not been estimated by any of the news sources I consulted. Since the franchise is an issue for both women and men, mainstream news agencies have not taken a gendered lens to the protests. Obviously, such a lens might help expand the discussion of what women want from Iran and how they are working to get it.
These posters, also show that Iranian women around the world are participating in the protest. They are forming a multilingual global network of political participation and political accountability for the Iranian people. Much has been written about the ways women use informal networks in their daily lives and how those networks translate to critical links in political action. It would be nice to have someone breakdown how these networks are working for change in the same way that the media has done so for sites like twitter. This is particularly important in the context of Ahmadinejad shutting down access to various internet social networks and cell phones during the crisis, and censoring foreign and internal media. Women may be able to use gendered expectations to circumvent such repression and help get the word out.
Finally, the number of dead and injured is rising. Images are now emerging of women being beaten by militia on the street, hemmed in by police on motorcycles, and being carried, bloody, through the streets by their male companions. These images, which I have not posted, also stand against the rhetoric of nations that claim women are a separate and protected class. They also point to the strength of women to stand up against state violence in the same way that some of the powerful images of men in the streets (some of them posted here in a previous post on the voting aftermath) have done.