RAMONA WORKSHOPS: PERIOD WITCHES

GROWING UP IN IRAN: Empowering Girls in Families

Writing by Nita // Illustration by Rupika Rangaswami

When I was a little girl I used to ride my red bike along an alleyway where our home was located. It was my only hobby in summertime and I have a vivid memory of the day when I was forbidden to ride my pretty bicycle. My mother had told me the news that I couldn’t ride my bike but the sad point is it was not my mother’s idea; it was my father.

He had never talked me out of something directly until now and he still won’t even tell me himself. He wants my mother to talk to me. Although I completely felt something is wrong with this decision, I had to obey the rules and conform to their expectations of being a girl. I wanted to be make my parents proud of me. And the fact that I was an only child made this situation even harder.

This was the first experience which aroused in me a sense of rebellion. As I got older I totally understood that I was participating in an unequal battle. Something unfair was happening to girls where society was trying to censor and underestimate us in each and every field.

Even in newer generations, censoring girls choices has not died in many families and narrow-minded people still exist, however, some families have changed their ideas (such as my own parents who do not think as they used to). Without a doubt, the advent of technology widened cultural horizons to either my family or many families struggling with the same close-minded problem around the world. Therefore, they are learning step by step that their daughters must be empowered to claim the rights and privileges that their male counterparts already have.

Although you may find many young Iranian women who are strong enough to gain her rights, she probably did not pass comfortably in her youth. Even if she were born in an unprejudiced family she may still have faced discrimination in such a masculine society such as Iran.

Due to the patriarchy, women living under the pressure of compulsory rules and beliefs need to make decision to demolish outdated viewpoints from their own families. This is what makes Iranian women considerably stronger than their previous generations. We need to keep raising our voice to wrong myths and try to raise up an empowered and aware generation of future mothers.

 

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Nita

Nita is a 24 year old woman from Iran who grew up in a very religious family. She has fought for many things in order to have a normal life like other women around the world. She didn’t believe she was gay, but she has always known that love is something beyond gender and she totally swallowed it when she met her brilliant girl. She has not married her wife on paper yet but they started loving each other from their first day of university. Unfortunately no one knows and they have not had the chance to live with each other.
Nita wants members of other societies to know Iran has lovers of the same sex who are loyal even if their own families must not know about their loves.

Rupika Rangaswamy

Rupika is an illustrator from India. Her vivid illustrations have a central theme of carefree, independent women – mostly inspired by her own life and the people around her. She loves doing galaxy art and thinks shes’s nailed her own style for it! Even though she’s been drawing for as long as she remembers, pursuing a degree in engineering got in the way.  Only about a year ago did she go back to her pencils and paints and start taking her art seriously enough to set up an IG account to showcase her illustrations (you can check them out here). Currently, she’s shuffling her time between her day job (as a technical analyst and software engineer) and art; the end game, of course, being able to make a living as an artist. 

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