Of woman


AmirAshkan Pishroo
by AmirAshkan Pishroo

To my knowledge, men often ask themselves “What is woman?” “When does a ‘girl’ become a ‘woman’?” At least, they do so in the mode, or in the form that they grant to the questions such as: “What is Being?” “What is technology?”  “Are colors  more mind-dependent than weights? “What is the relation of language to thought?” etc.  

My feeling is that it is not worth the trouble to try to answer such questions, for  their findings will have no bearing on practice, and if a debate has no practical significance, then it has no intellectual significance.

What is needed, and what many men are unable to envisage, is a repudiation of the very idea of woman having an intrinsic nature to be expressed or represented. For there is no such a thing as woman. There is therefore no answer to the question “When does a “girl” become a “woman?”

To say that woman is not out there is simply to say that where there are no male discourses there is no woman, that male discourses are element of patriarchy, and patriarchy is men creation. Woman cannot exist independently of man mind. And men never marry to a woman who cannot so exist. As Phyllis Chesler says:

“No, sons do not marry their mothers: older, ‘wiser,’ all-powerful, all familiar women--as once their own mothers were to them. Sons marry wives: ‘little’ mothers, strange mothers, women safely trapped into  maternal service…”

As Rorty tells us, the drama of an individual human life, or of a female, is not one in which a preexistent goal is triumphantly reached or tragically not reached. Instead, to see one’s life, or the life of a fellow female, as a dramatic narrative is to see it as a process of Nietzschean self-overcoming.

The paradigm of such a narrative is not the life of the girl who claims that there is woman out there (or in here) to be discovered, but rather the life of the genius female who can say of the relevant portion of the past, “Thus I willed it,” because she has found a way to describe that past which the past never knew, and thereby found a self to be which her mother and grandmothers never knew was possible.


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To: still bored

by pw (not verified) on

First of all, I have to say that I'm not the writer of this blog. So being "grandiose" which implies being self advocating, is meaningless.
secondly, if you really found a "grandiose" tone in the comment, then it can't be "without real meaning".
besides, I don't think this blog is intended for "big emotions", as your buddy has mentioned in reply to Faulkner.Obviousely, it is not a novel.
Although, I do not (and did not) deny presence of "big words" and intricate concepts within it, I meant to say that with a constructive thraed of ideas, still a blog which seems to be vague at first, can be very productive at the end. and for this reason, this blog which at least was successful to initiate such thread, should be appreciated.


I'm reminded by what

by still bored (not verified) on

Hemingway said in response to Faulkner...

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?"

"So, the blog should at least be appreciated in term of consequent and clarifying messages and comments, and elaboration of ideas".

Seriously... isn't that too just a little bit, just a teeny tiny bit, grandiose, and without real meaning?


Vague, but appreciable

by pw (not verified) on

This text is written with a philosophically conceptualized tone. honestly, I got much more from Azadeh's comment on feminism. So, the blog should at least be appreciated in term of consequent and clarifying messages and comments, and elaboration of ideas. Thank you


my anonymous opinion didn't make it through the first

by boring (not verified) on

time so I doubt it will this time either.

but this is the most pretentious bs I've ever read. concepts are misused. legitimate ideas are hidden in a fog of meaningless words.

"but I said it in a manner which makes no sense to myself either. What's the use of it? It only served my metaphysical urge, urge to theorize, urge to look intellectually bigger than I really am."

how true and how embarrassing. at least he admits it.

Azarin Sadegh

Thanks Azadeh!

by Azarin Sadegh on

To this date, I always thought I knew about feminist concepts...now I declare that what I considered feminism had nothing to do with its concept!

Even if your explanation has removed my confusion..still, when I reread this blog, I fall again into the hollow of my confusion.:-)

Maybe the whole purpose of a blog is its narrative..or maybe it's just me who is attached (too much) to narratives and how stories should be told. Believing in this strange idea that the only thing that matters is that narrative.

Each time I write something confusing (and believe me that I do it a  LOT!), my writing teacher tells me: "Azarin, you are not going to be shipped with your book to your reader, so you could have explained what you actually meant!!!"

Of course, the whole idea of being shipped alongside my writing is so fascinating...it's almost like having a blog on Iranian.com, where we can add endless comments!

Thanks again Azadeh Jan for the clarification! You're a real treasure!


AmirAshkan Pishroo

A prefect woman: Azad, Azarin, and Javaneh

by AmirAshkan Pishroo on

Thank you so much, Azad-e aziz, for saving my neck with your all-powerful narrative which sees gender steadily and sees it whole. I know you are not in the business of supplying your fellow anarchists with a justification or a rationale. You are just doing the same thing which all feminists do--attempting autonomy. At the end of the day, at the end of the race, in the last instance, to be able to name this Ashkan guy, finally, as Azad nicely puts, "He is in fact an ardent pro-feminist."

Dear Azarin,

Roughly speaking, everything we say, we write, and we think, are pretty much footnotes to what has been called the "tradition of Western metaphysics" or the "Plato-Kant canon," and footnotes to footnotes to that canon. This literary tradition has turned out to be our master rather than our servant. The prefect life will be one which breaks lose with the language-game of this canon, breaking the spell cast by reading the books which makes up that canon.

A prefect woman will be one who breaks from the past--by not living up to it, but by wanting to be able to sum up her life in her own terms, thereby becoming able to say, "Thus I willed it."

Dear Javaneh,

Thanks for your comment and for being modest. I said nothing that is beyond you, but I said it in a manner which makes no sense to myself either. What's the use of it? It only served my metaphysical urge, urge to theorize, urge to look intellectually bigger than I really am.

Azadeh Azad

And ... there are 6.725 billion genders, not 2

by Azadeh Azad on

Dear Ashkan, 

I totally agree with you. However I would use a different narrative to explain the same social reality.

As de Beauvoir says, "One is not born a woman, one becomes one". The word "woman" here encompasses "girl" as well. So, the idea is that a mature female or a female-child does not have an intrinsic nature, instead a "femininity" of some type has been imposed upon her by the patriarchal system through family upbringing, formal education, media, and other ideological apparatus (In my opinion, this also applies to males: One is not born a man, one becomes one; and the same gender division is imposed upon a being of male anatomy as well.)

I think it is worth answering the question of "What is woman", because, unlike you, I believe that it has an intellectual significance as the findings will eventually have a bearing on practice, albeit in long-term.

Because patriarchy fabricates man and woman, we need to say that there IS such a thing as woman, the product of male domination, without which patriarchy and male domination will disintegrate.

Therefore, there IS an answer to the question "When does a "girl" become a "woman?" And my answer to this question is:

A "girl" becomes a "woman" when she loses a major part of her humanity and individuality and potentialities by adopting (read submitting to) a kind of "femininity" that her specific phallocratic society expects from biologically female beings at a certain age; a "femininity" that has no function other than serving men sexually, procreatively, and reproducing male domination over females and its institutions such as patriarchal family.

You are right, Ashkan, when you say "what is needed….is a repudiation of the very idea of woman having an intrinsic nature to be expressed or represented." But you cannot conclude: "for there is no such a thing as woman." Patriarchy has created woman (a rigidly feminine creature.) Patriarchy is a vulture whose two wings are two fabricated genders, i.e., "masculine" and "feminine".

You rightly say, "where there are no male discourses there is no woman [as fabricated by patriarchy], that male discourses are element of patriarchy, and patriarchy is men creation." However, I add, feminist discourses and practices are needed to overcome patriarchy and to bring humanity and individuality back to females (and males) of the species.

When the concept of "gender" was first introduced by feminists, it had set as its goal women's liberation from the confines of masculine/feminine divide and tyranny. Unfortunately, people ended up using sex and gender alternately and got stuck in dyadic gender concepts.

People generally do not realise that *gender is a spectrum*, that we have as many genders on the planet earth as we have individuals (over 6 billion genders, indeed). Fortunately feminists are sharply aware of the existence of this spectrum and act accordingly. Left by themselves, some females are more masculine than some males, some females are more androgynous than feminine and some are very feminine. It's a spectrum. The same applies to males. Any attempt at shaping people's genders along a dyadic definition is oppressive and thus reactionary. Period. 

So, the conclusion of our differing narratives is the same, that a genuine female (i.e., a female who has resisted patriarchal indoctrination and has thus remained an authentic being) finds a self "which her mother and grandmothers never knew was possible."


Ps. Dear Azarin, I think Ashkan's narrative confuses those who are not familiar with feminist concepts. Please re-read his piece in the light of what I wrote. He is in fact an ardent pro-feminist.


Azarin Sadegh

"What is confusion?"

by Azarin Sadegh on

"What is Woman?"

Wow…it sounds like “What is cucumber?” or “What is Confusion?”..but then you compare it with questions like “What is being?” It seems that in your world “women” are just an abstract concept that you conclude they actually don’t even exist, unless the other concept (men) exist!

But …"Woman cannot exist independently of man mind. And men never marry to a woman who cannot so exist."!!!

Are you serious?


Your blog reminds me of Nietzsche's misogyny and inability to understand women (on some bad day when he was haunted by memories of his older sister’s meanness!!)

I think you have forgotten that we're not in 19th century anymore and many of this type of discussions have been obsolete for so long (unless you live in countries like Afghanistan or Yemen, etc...)!

Actually - joking aside - I personally like Nietzsche and Philosophy, but I try to use my own judgment to filter out the bad from the good. Instead of letting others think for me and to dictate what I am supposed to like or to dislike or worse to make me totally confused or lost, I rather think for myself.

I think, therefore I am! (hint: it's a quote!)


PS: BTW, in which context did Nietzsche said: thus I willed it? 


I totally agree

by Anonymous and don't get it (not verified) on

I don't consider myself a stupid person but I can't figure out WHAT they heck he's saying. Don't try to talk down to us.


ehhhh,,,,,, i dont get it

by javaneh29 on

If I could understand your blog I might have something to say. But I do not, so I will say  nothing more. beyond me