Monday, June 29, 2009

Iran's Second Sex

Brittany Liebenow

Third Blog Response

29 June 2009

Roger Cohen’s “Iran’s Second Sex” explores the sexism that ensues in Iran. Although women helped fuel revolutions for Iran, the post-1979 world still does not offer what women fought for. These women in Iran continue to fight for their rights only to be held back by age-old social restraints and passive men. Even though Iranian men and women crave reform and modernism, Iranian women continue to be pushed aside and denied rights while men blame their inaction on tradition and religion. Despite the fact that women fought just as hard for reform as men did, women have now been denied the very rights they died for. This sexism does not just stop at negligence of basic rights like being able to show skin in the hot sun, it extends even be life threatening. Cohen describes a poor woman who is afraid that an earthquake will prevent her from putting on her hijab. Because punishments for women are so severe and strict, this woman does not fear the earthquakes, she fears her punishment for showing skin. This sexism, Cohen argues, cannot continue, and modernized countries with more influence, such as the United States, must start taking a closer look.

Roger Cohen’s ideas and arguments in “Iran’s Second Sex” are lively and interesting. He fully describes both sides of sexism in Iran. Cohen also supports his diverse arguments with quotes that show consideration of outside opinions. Using frightening scenarios of women being punished for almost nothing, Cohen convinces the reader that sexism in Iran must be stopped. Unfortunately, his writing style does not have the same spirit. Cohen tried to convey an irritated and strict tone; however, his tone came off as weak, detached, and uninterested in the subject he was writing about. “Iran’s Second Sex” is a very lengthy and very well developed article. All of the paragraphs are generally the same length, but the paragraphs get slightly shorter towards the end of the article. Cohen does use advanced vocabulary but in awkward ways. “Iran’s Second Sex” is overall well written and very refined but lacks the fire and anger over sexism in Iran that Cohen tried to reveal.

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