Opinion OPINION: Republicans Report — The oppression of women in America By Loru Yazdani Posted on October 28, 2019 17 min read 0 0 102 Loru Yazdani is a first year student double majoring in music production and law enforcement. She is a member of the Ohio University College Republicans. The following article reflects the opinion and views of the author and does not represent the thoughts of the Ohio University College Republicans. This is a submitted column, and please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political. Idecided years ago to bury my past and never dig it up. The oppression and abuse that I endured growing up are not only humiliating but extremely hard to talk about and to relive. You never want people to know these things because you don’t want them to think of you differently or to think of you as someone with scars or baggage. You don’t want people to be witness to anything so deep and so personal. Something that they can’t possibly understand. It’s hard to explain, but I’ll do the best I can. Day after day I’ve been hearing a lot of discussion about the oppression of women in America. I’ve heard women talk about glass ceilings, the patriarchy and the fight that should belong to every woman in this country. I’ve watched the intensity of this feminist wave increase over the years. I’ve heard their voices crying out against the growing oppression we face, and I’ve decided that it’s time for me, as a woman and a feminist, to use my voice to speak about the oppression I see women facing every day. This past July, three women were sentenced to a total of 55 years in prison in Iran. Their crime? They dared to say they deserve the same rights as men. On June 13, 2018, a prominent female lawyer was arrested on charges that included “disrupting public order” and “inciting corruption and prostitution.” In March of 2019 she was sentenced to a total of 38 years in prison and physical punishment. Her crime? She primarily defended female clients and used her platform to fight for women’s rights. Instead of rapists being jailed, the rape victims are imprisoned and, in many cases, put on death row in Pakistan. Female models and fashion bloggers have been arrested and subject to cruel interrogation. Women have been arrested for dancing. Women’s rights activists are being arrested. Feminist leaders are being arrested. The feminists in America are right. The oppression that women are facing is unreal. It’s absolutely disgusting. However, there’s just one problem with their argument. None of these women are American. They are all from the Middle East. How many women, in America, need a man’s permission to travel? How many women in America are denied the right to try on clothes in a dressing room? Women in America are free, and they should wake up every morning and thank God that their day, their choices and their future belongs to them. They have hope in their dreams because free women know that their dreams are attainable. The women in the Middle East are fighting for their dreams but they have little hope. I was born in America, and I grew up in this country, but my background and culture led to an oppressive and abusive upbringing. I didn’t know the meaning of freedom until I was 16. I thought that fear, oppression and abuse were just something everyone lived through. I knew that what was happening wasn’t right, but I just assumed that it was normal. I didn’t know that nightmares weren’t normal. I didn’t know that not everyone went to bed not knowing if they’d wake up in the morning. I didn’t know that not everyone said goodnight to their family wondering if they would all still be alive by morning. I know, because of how I grew up, that oppression does exist everywhere — even in America. It was my Middle Eastern culture that led to my oppression, but it was the opportunities of the American culture that set me free from it. I was granted a new life because of the justice system in this country, and through the rights that women are granted here, I learned that women in this country aren’t treated like second class citizens, but they’re equal with men. We can wake up and we can own our own destiny. We have a choice and that was something that, because of how I grew up, I wouldn’t truly realize until years later. Do you know how wonderful it is to plan your day and to choose what you’re going to do? If I want to get coffee, I can make a choice to go do that. I never had that freedom before. To just get in the car and go wherever I want to go, just because I choose to, is the most incredible feeling in the world. If I want to go on a date, it’s my choice if I go and who I go out with. I don’t have to worry about the consequences of any man hitting on me. In the past, if anyone showed interest in me I would get punished for it. I dreaded a man asking me out, or asking my father if he could take me out, because I knew the suffering I would endure as a result of that. If I even looked in the direction of a man I would get punished for it. Most women love having a man look at them, but I lived in fear of a man looking at me, or a man being anywhere close to the direction that I was looking. Today, I have a choice in who I end up with. In the past I was told I didn’t have a say in who I married. I was terrified of being chained to a monster for the rest of my life. The fear of not knowing if your future will be an even worse nightmare than your present is indescribable. There are parts of me that will always belong to the life I had before I was granted my freedom, and I know I’ll live with those memories and the scars of those times forever. However, I’m thankful for my past because without it, I don’t know if I would truly appreciate what it means to be a woman in this country. Even those of us here who have been given a rough start in life are so blessed. We have the opportunity to turn it all around and to redefine our existence. None of us in this country are victims. Not when we have opportunities and resources that allow us the ability to become anything we want to be and to overcome any obstacle, past or present. If we want to fight, why don’t we use our freedom to fight for women who truly are facing oppression across the world? If we want to march, then why don’t we march for the women risking their freedom to fight for their right to remove the Hijab? We’ve broken glass ceilings and shattered all expectations. Women in this country can do anything and be anything. We have no limitations. So what are we still fighting? Are we really so desperate for a cause that we have to create more glass ceilings just to have something to break down? We don’t face imprisonment for voicing our opinions. We don’t face death for accusing a man of rape. We don’t face beatings and torture for simply daring to be free. Are we really so afraid of the realities of other women that we run away from any fight of real oppression and instead choose to create our own “safe” victimization in this country? Things like empowerment through glitter armpit hair or fighting for the oppressive hijab are not exactly going to put western feminism on the right side of history. I’m so proud of the women in the Middle East who are standing up to tyranny and maintaining their courage in the face of such adversity. Instead of teaching their young girls how to be victims, they’re teaching them how to be victorious. So, the next time you get in your car and put your hands on the steering wheel, don’t forget to say a prayer for those women who risk imprisonment for getting behind the wheel of a car. As you sit in class and wonder if your professor is ever going to shut up, don’t forget to say a prayer for those brilliant women whose minds are hungry for knowledge but are refused an education by a sexist culture that says their gender makes them less capable of learning. The next time you feel like a man has sexually harassed you because he asked you out to dinner, say a prayer for all those women who are waiting to be put to death or beaten because they committed the awful crime of being rape victims. And when you try on pants or a dress and you hate the way you look in them, say a prayer for all those women who don’t have the option to walk down the street in anything but a chador. The next time you want to focus on all the things you see as disadvantages, maybe just try to remember some of your blessings instead.