Thank, Elham Asghari. Your bravery shows us a path. Will we be able to follow?
It's just today I heard of Elham Asghari' stunning performance, swimming 20km on Caspian Sea in 12 hours, wearing a heavy, dangerous suit conforming to Islam. I've seen her YouTube video.
I can hardly imagine what such an enterprise mean: I lack any comparison parameter! The most I've made in my swimming life was a 1 mile in 2 hours and half in a 28°C Mediterranean Sea without the slightest current, and flat as a table, Of course, with a lightweight swimming costume. And when I was back I was feeling half-frozen and worn to a frazzle ;-) (I guess most of "us normal humans" may share). So, can hardly imagine!
Thank, Elham dear. Thank for your bravery, determination, and simple truth.
I'm too ignorant to say whether denying women the right to compete in sport and life on an equal basis has really been said by God or the Prophet, or not. Far from me.
One thing, however, I've noticed - and not only in Islamic countries: very few men accept to compete with a woman of comparable strength and ability and risk losing to her. Would that unfortunately happen, a severe ego-crippling effect will ensue with probability greater than 0.95.
They feel belittled in a way they would not if the opponent is a man.
They have a "place" for women: supporting them with their competence, determination, skill. But from the shadow.
Never as real peers.
Is it only from Iran? I'm sure not. I write from Italy, where the very same expectation is well alive - and where we hypocritically blame it on others.
In my feeling, fear of women competing and "becoming alike of men" is a symptom of a deep cultural sickness. Representing oneself unilaterally as a tough warrior (that is, a special case of a half-human, or a tamed animal if you prefer) by necessity demands someone else to complete. On which to project an immature, needy form of their suppressed self.
Wouldn't it simpler, men and women alike be left free to grow as human beings, full adult ones, instead of artificial halves like "men" and "women"?