My mother had no idea what "feminisim" means

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I was only six when me and my mother walked through the mountains for the first time, to get to our ancestral village in northern Iran. I was so excited, cause my mother promised to buy me a goat to play with, while we were spending the short time there.

My annual trips to the village were full of childhood excitement, because I had the chance to meet my old friends; the ones we ran all together here and there to grab the goat’s short string which was always running away from us.

Among all those childish happiness, however, I remember when we used to visit our relatives. We could always hear yelling, fighting and crying before we got inside. That was the time my mother used to get pissed, and asked the man of the house to stop beating his wife or kids.

These memories got deeper and more clear to me year after year. Like a piece of a scenery in a movie, I could imagine the peaceful nights of the village and then there were only me, my mother and the goat walking through the dark narrow allies to get to the muddy houses and drop off packs of medicine for old women, or save a sick child coughing hard along with a fever.

My mother started to go to primary school when she already had four kids; the same school as we did. I am pretty sure she hardly had any idea what the word “feminist” meant. But I knew for sure she would bring one or two young individuals with her from the village when we were going back to the city, to find them jobs at a tailor’s or at a barbershop. There were lots of times that couples from the village came to my mother asking her to find careers for their young children as firefighters or policemen.

With no exaggeration, my mother found jobs for at least ten young rurals in the city. She did all these by the reunions she used to participate, asking women to approve these kids working at their husbands’ stores.

And then I was only a teenager when I heard my mother giving advices to rural girls and even to my sisters:” you would be nothing if you don’t go to school to find a profession. You would be in need all your life if you are not educated and professional.”

Now I can say there were no difference between a girl and a boy to my mother. She might have known instinctively that people can not survive in an unequaled environment. Therefore, she gave all those advices to my sisters when I was present, so that I could hear them.

At times when I was out with my friends, going back home after midnight, my mother pointed me in front of my sisters telling:”you see the difference? He goes all around the city and learns about life more and more, day by day, while you have to stay at home only because you are girls.”

Well, I told all these to get to this point that What I learned from my mother was that there is no difference between male and female. Therefore, since I was a teenager, even now I feel more comfortable with girls and women who are independent. Like my mother, I never found out when and how, I decided to turn into a feminist.

 

Translated by Mavis From an article published by  Marderooz magazine