An Iranian channel ran a story about how a certain kind of martial arts is enjoying increasing popularity among Iranian women. This means that a) Iranian women have rights, b) Iranian women can access the public sphere, c) Iranian women participate in organized, public sports, and d) an Iranian government news channel has no problem with any of this.
Faced with these facts, the Western media panicked: some news agencies resorted to the stereotype of Iranian women as veiled, militant fanatics; others opted for infantilizing portrayals of suffering women using martial arts as their only escape. Can you imagine any self-respecting Western reporter writing a story that explained, unprovoked, the popularity of karate among girls in suburban Los Angeles by citing America’s high rates of sexual assault? Additionally, few bothered to mention that recently it has been Western sports organizations that have prevented Iranian women from playing, for example in 2011 forcing the Iranian women’s soccer team to forfeit hope of reaching the Olympics because they wore sports hijabs on the field.
Narratives of weak or militant Iranian women are not just dishonest; they also fuel a political narrative whereby Islamism is equated with backwardness and the ability of women to reconcile Islamic ideals with feminist goals is entirely obfuscated. Both Western conservatives and many secular feminists often participate in this obfuscation, effectively trying to either hide Iranian women’s successes in order to demonize Iran or by ignoring the ideologies of liberation they have formulated in order to preserve the status of secular feminism as the only path to women’s liberation.
“Mother,” I slowly repeated in Korean. “I am not a boy. I am a girl. I am transgender.” My face reddened, and tears blurred my vision. I braced myself for her rejection and the end to a relationship that had only begun.
Silence again filled the room. I searched my mother’s eyes for any signs of shock, disgust or sadness. But a serene expression lined her face as she sat with ease on the couch. I started to worry that my words had been lost in translation. Then my mother began to speak.
“Mommy knew,” she said calmly through my friend, who looked just as dumbfounded as I was by her response. “I was waiting for you to tell me.”
“Birth dream,” my mother replied. In Korea some pregnant women still believe that dreams offer a hint about the gender of their unborn child. “I had dreams for each of your siblings, but I had no dream for you. Your gender was always a mystery to me.”
I wanted to reply but didn’t know where to begin. My mother instead continued to speak for both of us. “Hyun-gi,” she said, stroking my head. “You are beautiful and precious. I thought I gave birth to a son, but it is OK. I have a daughter instead.”"
such a beautiful story. as a queer person, waiting is filled with anxiety about what to say, how much of myself and my life would i be able to reveal? the fear of rejection is so huge, but i also desperately want my family to know me, my life, my trials, my triumphs.
i just want to look into someone’s eyes and see myself, feel like i look like someone, like i can see where i came from. i want to know if i am an oppa or hyung.
i want to know if i had a name.
i have heard all the stories, all the possibilities from bad to good that can happen when you find your birth family. but this…this is the best. the absolute best.
This gave me chills. This is wonderful.
Inversions ease the circulation process. They reverse the action of gravity on the body and get the blood and lymph flowing in opposite directions. The lymphatic system has no pump, putting the body upside down helps speed up the process of removing waste from the body. Getting your head below…
Herman Melville (via fuckyeahyoga)