AFP

Feminism and the hijab

Iranian women's rejection of wearing the hijab is another episode in a long list of similar events

IVÁN GELIBTER

The women of Iran are not only teaching a lesson to their backward male government, but the revolution they are staging based on the refusal to wear the hijab (the headcovering worn by a Muslim woman) has also been a slap in the face to a certain feminist sector that does not consider its use a symbol of oppresion.

This issue, which is by no means resolved in ideological terms, is the umpteenth clash in a stream of similar events.

At the beginning of each new school year, there are schools and colleges that ban young Muslim girls and women from wearing a headscarf over their hair, considering it an 'attack' on their individual freedom and a xenophobic action against people of North African origin.

I find it astonishing that people who consider themselves feminists can defend the wearing of the hijab as a cultural element which should be defended, even though it is something that only affects women simply because they are women, and is aimed at preventing men from looking at them.

Female genital mutilation

Some may think that this next example is not comparable but I can't get out of my head that in some countries they defend the practice of clitoral cutting as a 'cultural fact'.

"The problem is not that a young woman's clitoris is removed but the way the West perceives this act with their moral superiority."

I read this in a statement from a representative of one of these 'cultural fact' pro-ablation 'associations'.

Well madam, of course I feel there is superiority in the society that I live in. One in which women are increasingly being treated as equals to men, in which LGBT people are not condemned for their entire lives, and in which women (and only women) have their sexual enjoyment ripped away from them.

Defending this argument is not a matter of moral superiority but a sense of progress.