Western Feminists Snub an Iranian Heroine
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights seems not to apply to women in certain Islamic countries.
By DARYA SAFAI
Dorsa Derakhshani may be today’s bravest feminist. As the 18-year-old Iranian chess grandmaster competed at a January tournament in Gibraltar, she refused to don a hijab, in defiance of her country’s Islamic authorities. She was later removed from the national team. Her 15-year-old brother, Borna, was also booted, for facing off against an Israeli chess player.
It would be nice to report that Western feminists rallied to Ms. Derakhshani’s defense, but they didn’t. America’s liberal feminists have been busy planning a “Day Without a Woman” to protest President Trump ’s alleged misogyny.
In Iran, the Interior Ministry investigates more than a million women every year for refusing to cover their heads. In 2014 several bareheaded young Iranian women posted a video of themselves dancing and singing to Pharrell Williams ’s “Happy.” They were arrested for “hurting public chastity” and sentenced to a year in prison and 91 lashes. (The sentences were suspended contingent on three years of good behavior.)
Feminists and progressives have a habit of ignoring Islamism’s female victims, preferring to focus on phantom reports of Islamophobia in the West. Enormous attention has been paid to “burqa bans” in European countries. But how many readers have heard of Ms. Derakhshani?
Sweden claims it has a “feminist foreign policy,” yet during an official trip to Iran last month several female cabinet members covered their heads. How will Iranian women escape Islamism’s chokehold if European feminists submissively bow to men who refuse even to shake a woman’s hand?
Days before that state visit, an Islamic court in Iran’s Lorestan Province sentenced a man and woman to death by stoning for adultery. The Swedish feminists issued nary a peep in protest of this gross violation of human rights.
In the guise of cultural relativism, Western feminism appears to have evolved into a new kind of racism. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights seems not to apply to women in certain Islamic countries.
Yet Western moral preening never ends. Also days before the state visit, Sweden’s deputy prime minister, Isabella Lövin, publicized a picture of herself signing a decree as seven female officials stood behind her desk. It was meant as a parody of Mr. Trump’s all-male signing ceremonies. Why are Sweden’s officials so agitated by America’s mouthy president yet so taciturn about Iran’s brutal Islamists? Why should his machismo concern them more than millions of oppressed and debased women?
You won’t get answers to these questions from progressives on either side of the Atlantic. A prime example is Linda Sarsour. Born in Brooklyn to Palestinian parents, she styles herself a leader of the anti-Trump movement. In 2014 she tweeted: “I live my life under Sharia law everyday.”
Such women will never stand up for the basic rights of their counterparts in Muslim countries. Such women don’t deserve to call themselves feminists. That’s an honor that rightly belongs to the likes of Dorsa Derakhshani.
Ms. Safai, a Belgian-Iranian women’s rights activist, (Wikipedia) is founder of “Let Iranian Women Enter Their Stadiums.”
Kellyanne Conway slams feminism as 'anti-male' and 'pro-abortion' at CPAC
By CAMERON JOSEPH
NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. — One of President Trump's senior female advisers took aim at feminism Thursday morning, saying the term had become tainted with left-wing implications and that she didn't feel comfortable defining herself as a feminist.
Kellyanne Conway slammed modern feminism as exclusive and anti-conservative during an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference, arguing that she supported some of its basic tenets while saying the term had been so coopted by the left that she doesn't use it.
"It's difficult for me to call myself a feminist in the classic sense because it seems to be very anti-male and it certainly is very pro-abortion in this context and I'm neither anti-male or pro-abortion. So there's an individual feminism, if you will, where you make your own choices," she said to cheers from the conservative crowd. "I look at myself as a product of my choices, not a victim of my circumstances and that's really what conservative feminism, if you will, is all about."
Conway continued on to call some feminists hypocrites, while taking aim at the recent post-election women's marches that arose largely as a protest against her boss.
"One thing that's been a little disappointing and revealing that I hope will get better is it turns out a lot of women just have a problem with women in power. You know, this whole sisterhood, this whole 'let's go march for women's rights,' just constantly talking about what women look like or what women wear or making fun of their choices or presuming that they're not as powerful as the men around, this presumptive negativity about women and power I think is very unfortunate because let's just try to access that and have a conversation about it rather than a confrontation about it," she said.
She served as Trump's campaign manager and serves as a senior adviser to Trump now. She may have Trump's ear more than any other female adviser besides his daughter Ivanka. She's also a fixture on the cable news — though she seemingly had been put in time-out by the White House following a chaotic stretch where what she said about the resignation of Michael Flynn disagreed with what other White House officials were saying. After roughly a week off TV — and a report from CNN highlighting her absence from the airwaves — she made an appearance on Sean Hannity's Fox News show Wednesday evening.
Conway, a longtime GOP pollster, has spent decades criticizing liberal feminism while advocating for more women in the workplace. That includes her membership on the board of the conservative Independent Women's Forum, a group which advocates for women "who believe in individual freedom and personal responsibility."
Conway highlighted her blue-collar upbringing by a single mom to argue that principle was workable.
"My mother didn't feel sorry for herself. She was left with no child support, no alimony at a very young age, with a child to raise, a high school education, and she just figured it out. She didn't complain, she didn't rely upon government, she relied on her own skill set, her own drive and moxie, and her own duty to me and her, and she relied upon her family and her faith. And I believe those are timeless lessons and timeless opportunities for all women in similar circumstances and situation," she said.
And while she took aim at the term, much of Conway's speech was spent advising young women how to succeed in the workplace — including using the "When Harry Met Sally" line "I'll have what he's having" to ask for equal pay.
Cameron Joseph, one time journalist for THE HILL is now senior political reporter and Washington Bureau Chief for the New York Daily News.