Identity politics is viewed a bit differently in those nations that practice Sharia law. Theocracies cling to the old ways where the equality of women is a silly Western practice, to be shunned along with pornography and rap music. Yeah, they got it better than gays, at least they aren’t thrown off buildings, but equal rights is still light years away. Probably the biggest impediment  to a level playing field is the practice of Guardianship, where women need the permission of a male guardian to do basic things like date, marry, travel, get a passport and sign contracts. Interacting with men in public, going for a swim, trying on clothes, using make up, all mine fields circuitously navigated to remain in compliance.

So what does the fairer sex do when the sports bug hits? Desperate times call for desperate actions;

Female football fans who donned fake beards and wigs to attend a major match in Iran in defiance of a ban on women spectators were hailed as fearless by activists on Monday.

Photos and video of the fans sitting in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium disguised as men as they watched their team Persepolis crowned champions on Friday have gone viral on social media.

The Islamic Republic has long barred women from attending male soccer matches and other sports fixtures, based at least partly on the theory that women should not hear fans swear.

“I am very proud of them and impressed that they can be so fearless, because it is a huge risk that they do that,” Melody Safavi, Iranian women’s rights activist and singer told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from New York.

OK, show of hands, how many of you immediately thought of this? Real life does indeed imitate art;

At least Saudi Arabia is trying to enter the 21st century. They recently hosted a WWE event (who would have thought the Middle East has a big wrestling following?) and allowed women to attend. I guess things went well until they showed female wrestlers on the big screen, pandemonium ensued.

The 2018 World Cup is scheduled for Russia, so no worries there. But for 2022, Qatar will be the host nation. Special dispensations were required to move the dates to winter months, for the obvious reason that it is hotter than Hades in summer. Aside from the bribery scandals and the deplorable working conditions for the foreign labor force that built the stadiums,  a major societal overhaul will no doubt follow. Female visitors from foreign countries will not countenance separate treatment or be subordinated to an antiquated theology. And the Qatar-an women like soccer as much as the men.

The competitive juices flow in both sexes. We don’t need any more stories like Callipateira;

“She, being a widow, disguised herself exactly like a gymnastic trainer, and brought her son to compete at Olympia. Peisirodus, for so her son was called, was victorious, and Callipateira, as she was jumping over the enclosure in which they keep the trainers shut up, bared her person. So her sex was discovered, but they let her go unpunished out of respect for her father, her brothers and her son, all of whom had been victorious at Olympia. But a law was passed that for the future trainers should strip before entering the arena.” 

Sports are universal, competing as well as spectating. A few swear words never hurt nobody, like that was the real reason to ban them in the first place. Let the ladies in, they will be more fun to talk to. Real men know that an eclectic woman is sexier, or is saying that not allowed there?

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The 2018 World Cup is scheduled for Russia, so no worries there.

Yeah. You’ve obviously never been to a football match in Russia. It’s going to be carnage – with the England fans specifically.

re: Qatar – again, I’m skeptical that it won’t be a clusterfuck. (We’re bound to have an openly gay player by then…)

CMNZ

English fans abroad = massive trouble.

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