As an Iranian woman, I have always been attacked by men (patriarchy) with the support of the Islamic Republic of Iran. From the moment I opened my eyes to this world, I remember my father hitting my mother, my uncle hitting his daughter, and my neighbor hitting his mother.
As Iranian women, we face fear every day of our lives. We sacrifice ourselves, and we shut down our dreams because of patriarchy. Men are the first gender, and we are the second gender. From childhood, the government treats us in such a way that we remain silent and are convinced we are the second gender under the oppression of men; I mean, they wish we were convinced. But we are human, and instinct will always tell us that something is wrong.
Forty years ago, before the Islamic revolution in Iran, the country was led by a monarchy (the king) and Iran used to be one of the modernist countries in the world. Women could dress as they wanted just like in free countries today. But after the Islamic revolution, headscarves and covering the body became law in the whole country. At first it was not bad, but gradually women went under the shade and all the freedom was given to men.
As Iranian women in our country, we are not allowed to swim in the sea, we are not allowed to sing, dance and sometimes even clap outside the house. We are not allowed to ride bicycles or motorcycles. We are not allowed to go to the stadium and watch games, we are not allowed to have children out of marriage, we are not allowed to leave the country without our husband’s permission, our dowry is half of a man’s, and the inheritance we receive is half of a man’s. There are many sports that we cannot do.
I am an artist, as an artist (actor) it is more difficult to be a woman in Iran. We are not allowed to sing and dance on stage, we have to wear hijab on stage, even if our co-star is male, we cannot touch. We can’t wear tight clothes, a male makeup artist is not allowed to put makeup on our faces, and we can’t wear wigs. We should not move our body too much.
As an artist in theatre for young audiences it’s even harder. We are not allowed to work on whatever we want. Everything in Iran is controlled by the government, so in order to create a performance, they have to approve every step of the process, which is a nightmare. We can’t mention religious things (only if it’s promoting Islam) on stage, we can’t mention sex, erotic things, western music, western culture, bad words, better to say we’re not allowed to show REALITY!
Our children in Iran experience a double life. Most families in Iran are not religious, do not believe in hijab, go to house parties, dance, drink alcohol and live a normal life under the skin of the country. But it is different in the community outside their home. Our children are faced with these contradictions every day, which is harmful for everyone. They immediately learn how to lie, how to pretend to be something else. They never get the chance to speak their truth.
We (Iranian people) are from the country of poetry, art, and great history. The Iranian government has been trying to take it from us for the past forty years, but it could not. Our women did not tolerate oppression, they studied and educated themselves, they worked alongside men. To the extent that these days they risk their lives in the streets of Iran to fight for their rights, together with young people.
We are Iranian women; we fight with our bare hands against their weapons. We will take back our beautiful land to make a free life for our next generations.
Please see us, hear us.