Modesty Comes to the Olympics

At this year’s Olympics, the German women’s gymnastics team chose the sort of uniforms usually worn by athletes from religiously conservative nations, rather than more typical, and more revealing, attire. The Norwegian women’s handball team, meanwhile, has incurred fines for disregarding the regulations in order to wear something more modest while competing. Bethany Mandel comments:

The International Handball Federation requires women to wear bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg,” per the New York Times. The sides of the bikini bottoms must be no more than four inches wide. However, men can wear shorts as long as four inches above the knee so long as the shorts are “not too baggy.”

The fact that it’s harder to find modest clothing choices as a female is no secret to women and mothers of girls everywhere. What’s encouraging about this moment is that the concept of modesty isn’t just becoming more mainstream outside of religious and conservative circles, but that women fighting for the right to dress as they please aren’t just battling for the right to dress provocatively anymore.

No, we’re finally acknowledging that it’s just as empowering to cover up as it is to flaunt our bodies. And that cultural encouragement girls feel to show more, not less? We’re finally acknowledging that it’s not about empowerment, it’s about sexualization.

These young ladies’ push for more control over their uniforms cuts to the heart of why they’re opting for more modest choices: they want to control how sexualized their bodies are by those who are profiting off of them.

Read more at Deseret News

More about: Modesty, olympics, Sexuality, Sports, Women

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security