Fee Saghafi Programs Workout to Honor Mahsa Amini, the Iranian Woman Killed for How She Wore Her Hijab

September 29, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Fee Saghafi (@fee.saghafi)
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When Fee Saghafi’s inbox was flooded with messages from Iranians in the middle of September, she felt immediately compelled “to help be their voice,” said the 2019 CrossFit Games athlete, who grew up in the United States but whose father is Iranian.

The messages were, of course, about Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old woman who was arrested by Iran’s Law Enforcement Command for not wearing her hijab in accordance with government standards, and later died on September 16 after she was allegedly beaten by police. Her death has sparked ongoing worldwide protests that inspired Saghafi to speak up. 

“When you have a full inbox of messages asking for help…I needed to try to help the best way I can,” Saghafi explained to the Morning Chalk Up.

On Instagram, she wrote: “Even though my feet have never walked the life of oppressed Iranian women, my blood and my roots will always be like theirs…Even though most of us can’t understand and feel the oppression they’ve experienced doesn’t mean we can’t stand with them and help be their voice.”

Taking action: To show her support for Iranian women, and to honor Amini, Saghafi did what CrossFit athletes often do. She created a workout called MAHSA, a 22-minute AMRAP of 9 thrusters (135/95), 13 bar-facing burpees and a 200-meter run and posted the video of her tackling it.

  • “I programmed MAHSA to represent and honor her, the women and men currently protesting and fighting, and the struggle and oppression that women in Iran have been facing for many decades,” Saghafi explained to the Morning Chalk Up.

The workout: Each component of MAHSA has a symbolic component to it, Saghafi explained, even the 22-minute time domain, which represents the age Amini was when she was killed. 

  • Further, the rope climb is symbolic of “a climb to freedom,” Saghafi said, and the thrusters “represent the Iranian people in the fight to lift oppression of the government and their leaders off their shoulders.
  • “The 13 burpees (represent) the day of (her) arrest and the constant battle of getting knocked down and standing up to fight again,” Saghafi continued. And finally, the 200 meter run represents the protests that continue around the world, “and the battle for freedom happening in the streets of Tehran.”
  • Saghafi is urging others in the CrossFit community to show their support  by taking on MAHSA and to “keep spreading the word.”

The big picture: Even though a workout won’t stop human rights abuses from happening, in Iran or elsewhere in the world, it’s representative of the freedom Saghafi has to pursue the life she wants to live, freedom Saghafi hopes all Iranian women will one day experience. But this won’t happen in silence. That’s why Saghafi is using her social media platform to take a stand against something much bigger than fitness.

  • “Being a woman that represents Mexican and Iranian culture among this sport gives me a platform to be a voice for those who struggle to be seen and heard,” she said. “Iranian women and all women should be free to show off how proud they are of their strong bodies, minds, talents and passions without the fear of death or punishment being just a moment away.”

She added: “I am an Iranian woman. I stand with Iranian women. I will be a voice for them, and I will keep honoring all of them.”

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