Category: headscarves

Why Iranian women are wearing white on Wednesdays:

A new social media campaign against a law which forces women to wear a headscarf is gaining momentum in Iran.

Using the hashtag #whitewednesdays, citizens have been posting pictures and videos of themselves wearing white headscarves or pieces of white clothing as symbols of protest.

The idea is the brainchild of Masih Alinejad, founder of My Stealthy Freedom, an online movement opposed to the mandatory dress code.

Before the 1979 Islamic revolution many Iranian women wore Western-style outfits, including miniskirts and short-sleeved tops, but this all changed when the late Ayatollah Khomeini came to power.

Women were not only forced to cover their hair in line with a strict interpretation of Islamic law on modesty, but also to stop using make-up and to start wearing knee-length manteaus. More than 100,000 women and men took to the streets to protest against the law in 1979, and opposition to it has never gone away.

Digital Human, Series 13. Episode 1 – Resist.

My Stealthy Freedom:

In Iran women have to cover their hair in public according to the dress rule enforced after the Iranian Revolution in 1979. My Stealthy Freedom is an online social movement where Iranian women share photos of themselves without wearing the hijab.

Digital Human, Series 13. Episode 1 – Resist.

This Iranian activist fights for women’s rights not to wear hijab. But Donald Trump has complicated her effort.:

When Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist and human rights activist living in exile in Brooklyn, started her online campaign two years ago encouraging women in her home country to post photos of themselves in public without their headscarves, it was a powerful statement for gender equality.

At great personal risk, thousands of Iranian women have defied the law and removed their hijabs in defiance.

A movement that celebrates women’s freedoms would seem like an obvious one for public support. But lately in the United States, it’s been a challenge for Alinejad to get active endorsements. Sure, some celebrities have tweeted about her effort. And it’s received a lot of positive international media coverage. But people are afraid to be too vocal, she said, because they don’t want to appear anti-Islamic in the era of Donald Trump.

“The atmosphere that [Trump has] created in the United States put us in trouble as well when we want to talk against Islamic restrictive laws. Because people now don’t want to touch the sensitive issue of compulsory hijab because they think it’s a cultural issue and they don’t want to be seen as [aligned with] Donald Trump,” she said in a recent interview. “They want to stand with minorities here. A Barbie wearing a headscarf can make news. In the U.S., it shows you’re tolerant, you’re open-minded, you’re not like Donald Trump.”

But to Alinejad, her effort has never been about being anti-hijab or anti-Islam. Her parents are religious. Her mother proudly covers her head. It’s about giving women the freedom to choose either way.

She has a dream that one day her mother may visit her in the United States and they can walk side by side, her mother in her hijab, and not have to worry about Trump wanting to kick her mother out of the country. And she dreams that she can return to Iran, where she surely would be arrested, and walk shoulder-to-shoulder with her mother, her hair flowing freely, without fear of getting in trouble.

“It’s two extremes — and women in the middle are stuck because if we talk loud against Islamic restrictive laws, then people think we’re supporting Islamaphobia,” she said. “But if we keep silent then we have to forget about our own identity and obey all the discriminatory laws.”

Alinejad has never been one to sit quietly on the sidelines.

Digital Human, Series 13. Episode 1 – Resist.