There’s nothing about this that I don’t love (well, other than the oppressive Iranian law that made this necessary in the first place. I don’t love that).
According to this, the Iranian government declared that women riding bicycles was somehow an affront to religious morality and issued a fatwa effectively banning women from participating in the activity. Like they do whenever there’s something fun and/or convenient that might make women’s lives more enjoyable –
Hardline Iranian leaders believe women on bikes are a threat to morality and are strictly forbidden as a means of public transport.
Women must also be completely veiled, even in the height of summer, when playing sport or driving.
But in September, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a fatwa that women were not allowed to cycle in public.
OH NOES. Men in Iran might see a woman’s ankles as she’d pedaling down the street! THE HORRORS! Whatever shall they doooo??
I dunno – deal with it? Like so many other men in developed nations and civilized societies who are expected to NOT act like total cavemen in the presence of the opposite sex? (That would be a revolutionary thought in the Islamic world, wouldn’t it.)
But rather than capitulate to a truly oppressive patriarchal society, Iranian women are riding their bikes around town anyway regardless of any kind of “laws” put in place against them. Not only are they riding their bikes, they’re posting pictures of themselves biking on social media with the hashtags #IranianWomenLoveCycling –
A mother and daughter filmed themselves cycling on the island of Kish, alongside posts explaining how they immediately rented two bicycles after the fatwa.
“Cycling is part of our lives. We were here when we heard Khamenei’s fatwa banning women from cycling,” they said.
Another woman posted a video and said she was “proud to resist the oppression”.
“As I believe those who oppress us are wrong,” she wrote. “Biking for women is not a taboo. And no one can tell me it is.”
When I see stories like this, I have several thoughts. One is how blessed I am to live in a country where I can choose my own mode of transportation and I don’t need my father’s or husband’s permission to leave the house (nor do I need them to escort me anywhere).
Another is admiration for these women who are standing up to real oppression. How many feminists in the United States and Europe take for granted the fact that they can drive a car or ride a bike to wherever they need to go? How many feminists take for granted that they aren’t forced to wear a headscarf or a veil when they go out in public (bonus – we don’t have to cover up head to foot when it’s 90-100 degrees in the summer. YUCK). I mean, the most that Western feminists have to rail against is if a dude looks at them funny or something.
Kind of pathetic when you think about it.