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posted 19 Dec 2011, 18:10 by Taymaz Valley   [ updated 7 Feb 2013, 15:47 ]

I read an email from an Iranian photographer today which made me think about the issue of Feminism and what it means today? Whether it is alive in the 21st century? Or Feminists are on the retreat because of lack of necessity?

This Iranian photographer which shall remain nameless, proposed to exhibit works which question the ideology behind feminism albeit an Iranian version of it; however her reasons for going against this concept seemed universal and so I am taking it upon myself to analyse this issue. She concluded that Feminism has failed women, and the struggles that are still going on only allow women to lose their womanhood and adapt a kind of masculine characteristic. She added that with the rise of popularity in cosmetic surgery and increase in excessive sexuality, women are being treated like men and that is not right. She yearns for women to be treated as fairer sex that they are and so on.

Is this true? Are women losing their identity? Is the freedom that has come with more rights allowed a backlash of over indulgence in sexual behaviour? Are cosmetic surgeries and the surge in them the result of Feminist movements?

Feminism has had a rough journey, and many over the years have criticised Feminism and the Feminist for their audacity to bring change to society. Equal rights; equal pay; equal position; right to vote; right to divorce; right to be educated and others might seem very ordinary today but one must remember that these rights had to be gained with much blood and suffering, and these rights are still lacking in certain countries around the world. But the question whether these rights have allowed women to lose their morality is one that has been raised by religious figures throughout the past centuries. The fact remains that all three monotheistic religions place women in the minority. Women are with unequivocal prejudice subject of men in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and no amount of moderate doctrine can change the fact that women are subjects of scorn; corruption; and evil which befalls on men within the three books of these so called modern religions. So, I’m not surprised when the religious few point a finger at the woman who want what is right and call them immoral.


The question of identity is another aspect that needs examining. The identity of women has been decided upon them by men for thousands of years and they still do. Even today some scientifically minded intellectuals place women in the category best described as primitive. “Women can bear children so they must be more domestic than the hunter gatherer men who as evolution has shown us must mate with as many females as possible in order to insure the survival of his genes.” These kind of rationality makes one think that our two thousand five hundred years of civilisation has been nothing but a devolve to animalistic behaviours of apes. Women have the right to bear children, and this fact does not place them as domestics, it places them in a privileged half. Those who chose not to exercise this right must do so according to their own rationality; precisely the same rationality that allows a woman to get plastic surgery, or wear lipstick, or paint her toenails bright red.

If you remove men from the equation, how can a woman ever think it wrong to have freedom and the right to do as she pleases with her own affairs? The laws which put women in the position they are in now did not exist a century ago, and the reason is Feminism. How can any woman in her right mind question such concept unless she is blissfully unaware that people have fought to get here, and they still do in many countries?

So my dear Iranian Photographer: before you do your exhibition in nostalgia of the old days, remember one thing, if you were in the old days you would not have the right to even think about photography, let alone criticise.

If one day you erase Adam and Eve from the bony fingers of history, women no longer become the culprit of sin, and this atheist would get a good night sleep.