Pushing back

Nicole Valentini
3 min readAug 13, 2019

From North to South, from West to East women have been targeted for centuries just for being women. And so have I. When we post a photo we are prostitutes, when we hold an important position it’s because we have slept with someone, when we don’t have children we are useless, when we sing and dance happily we are placing a badge of shame on our entire ethnic group, when we are independent we are selfish. When we choose to love a man from a different country it means that “these bloody foreigners are stealing our women”!

I still remember some years ago, when during a Hazara meeting some important men were praising Baba Mazari’s attitude towards women: “He was such a great man! He considered women as equal. He really respected them.” They said. I didn’t say anything because I was a guest but I would have loved to ask a simple question: “If Baba Mazari was a great man because he considered women as equal, why on earth are your wives closed in the kitchen?”

This kind of mindset doesn’t belong to a specific culture or religion but exists in all those groups of people where patriarchy is more pervasive. That’s why we can find it more among white nationalists, fascists, Taliban, and so on. But also, unfortunately, among very normal people.

I have just read the sad news that many Hazara women have been targeted, harassed, and threatened online by some men, most of whom are well respected and educated people. I fully support my sisters around the world and I hope that my brothers will do the same because this is the news: we don’t belong to anyone, not to our fathers, brothers, or husbands, let alone to our country or ethnic group. Women are waking up all over the world and that’s why there are always more women’s murders and an international reactionary push, where dictators and far-right figures, that embody the nostalgic image of the strong man, are gaining a lot of support. A strong man, that today in a technological and globalized society, is becoming useless.

This kind of men feel threatened by women because if we can be free, then what’s their place in the patriarchal world that their fathers have built? Who will serve them and treat them like a king when outside their homes the world is a scary place that treats them like dogs? And if these women are free, they are also free to ignore me, and this will make me feel useless and humiliated. That’s why these people need women to stay silent and subjugated.

Yet this is not a war between men and women. This is a war between civilization and barbarism, between being happy, healthy, and rich all together or being poor, sick, and sad, divided because it has been demonstrated that gender equality is not good just for women but it produces richer and happier societies.

N.b: to support our sisters in Afghanistan that are fighting every day against threats and gender-based violence some activists have created the following Hashtag #NoToSexism