I’m going through though days, which make me think and analyze my life a lot. And sometimes, when you think a lot, you can’t control your train of thought.

I’m dangling. My personal life, my identity, the future, all are ambivalent. Every now and then you hear this question that who are you? Where are you from? What is your identity? What’s your religion? Are you a feminist? What kind of feminist are you? And even if nobody asks, you keep questioning yourself about them. In a crap talk I attended today, the presenter made everybody uncomfortable by asking us to write down and discuss what our religion is. Immediately I wrote “atheist,” but then I paused. Can this be called a religion? Does the word atheist say it all? And I remembered numerous people who have assumed I’m a Moslem, just because I’m from the Middle East. There were even people wondering why I’m not fasting in Ramadan or why I don’t wear veil. So, when I’m perceived as a Moslem, am I still just an atheist? Or am I an atheist perceived as a Moslem? Or am I an atheist who is still very much entangled with Islamic discourses because her life, her body, her history are all entangled with Islam? What kind of atheist I am when I don’t dare to publicly announce it, when I say I’m a none-practicing Moslem to some people, fearing to be viewed as an apostate and thus subject to death?

In another class the professor asked whether we consider ourselves feminists. I raised my hand immediately. But then I thought is the word feminist saying it all? Or should I add some elements to it, explaining what kind of feminist I am? Am I a feminist when I believe in women’s rights on their bodies, yet defending women who choose veil? Should I criticize the concept of choice here to be considered a feminist? Then what about women’s agency? Am I a liberal feminist because I’m interested in legal rights of women? Am I a liberal feminist because I think a gender revolution is impossible in Iran, so we should go for a reform? Then why do I hate liberal feminism? Why in the bottom of my heart I hate kissing the ass of Iranian authorities by signing petitions that address them directly? What other options do I have when I can’t participate in a gender revolution? How can I avoid reproducing power through reform and yet avoid expenses of a bloody revolution? What kind of feminist am I when I consciously or unconsciously reproduce or sustain power/hegemony?

And who the fuck am I? An Iranian? An Eye-ranian? A 28-year-old woman? A Middle Eastern? A feminist? An activist? A nobody, student in the US? A citizen of the world?

Why do I care so much about the women’s movement in Iran while I’m not physically there? Why am I spending most of my time on activities related to women’s movement in Iran, while sooner or later I’ll hear from friends and enemies inside Iran that I don’t have the legitimacy to criticize the strategies of the movement because of not being physically there? Why can’t I concentrate on activities that might secure a well-paying job in the US for me? Why do I hate applying for internships that have nothing to do with women’s movements in general and Iran’s women’s movement in particular? Is this because the sense of identity being part of Iran’s women’s movement gives me? Am I afraid that I will be nobody if I’d be striped from my history and my experiences in Iran? So, if being part of the movement gives me a sense of identity, what the fuck am I doing in the US? Why do I like studying here? Why am I so happy that I had this great opportunity/privilege to be in women’s studies classes here? Why do I like to be recognized here in the US as a person with full rights and abilities? Why do I get mad being treated as nobody here while I have the option to go back and be part of a community who recognizes me?

Who am I? What is my identity? Seriously!

Advertisements