Change of Perception:Women’s Freedom of Expression – From Ghamar to Golshifteh

19 01 2012

By: Mosi Dorbayani, PhD

While still many regard the oppression of women an inherent biological trait of men, the root lies not in biology, but in social conditions inclusive of the cultural and religious barriers.

As far as women’s right is concerned, basically there are two major ideologies: One is “Feminism” and the other “Socialism”. Feminists, generally set women against men in most of their arguments and in effect try to prove their inequality in the society they live in by usually highlighting their values, abilities as well as attainments. Socialists however, try to forge solidarity between male and female, especially among the working class, often not for rectifying the struggle but repelling capitalist exploitation. They often use solidarity as a tool for another form of oppression, for the sake of being against another system.

So, then what needs to be done? Where is the truth lying? How and when this oppression of women will end?

In my view, the truth is lying in women’s thoughts. First and foremost, women need to change their own ‘Perception’. Change of perception can translate itself into change of paradigm, change of paradigm into verbal and physical action, and action into desired change. For example, change of perception in men in the way they perceive women among others.

There are many examples of this but here I share two of them with you. One dates back to over 80 years ago and the other just this week.

Ghamar-Ol-Molook Vaziri. First Iranian Woman singer, who dared to sing in public without veil, for the first time 84 years ago. She performed her first Concert in Grand Hotel in Tehran, when and where women had to follow Islamic law and were heavily oppressed by male domination and religious order. What she did 84 years ago was change of perception in herself, which translated into an unprecedented action. An action that changed many perceptions. She became a household name, a celebrity throughout Iran and a role model for many.

She became a voice for women by demonstrating how the change of perception can have a domino effect in the society at large. Over 80 years ago, she became the champion of Iranian women, who were struggling with their freedom of expression at the time.

And now, this week, Golshifte Farahani, actress and singer, has posed nude for a Madame Le Figaro magazine photo-shoot in a move that is seen to defend freedom of expression and oppose the strictures against women. I unequivocally support Golshifteh Farahani and applaud her daring action. As the result of her change of perception, a greater domino effect is yet to be seen.



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