Iranian Women Protest Mandatory Hijab Laws in This Powerful Series [10+ Photos]

Avatar Amanda Froelich | January 3, 2018

Did you know? Leading up to the 1979 revolution in Iran, women fought side-by-side with men to create change. Months later, however, Ayatollah Khomeini decreed mandatory hijab. The same women who had been part of the revolution took to the streets to protest what eventually became law. Because they had little to no support from their male comrades, their efforts had little effect. Today, wearing the hijab is mandatory and the lack of it is punishable under the law.

Though Iranian women are not allowed to express it, many hate compulsory hijab. They see it as a symbol of oppression which is forced on them not by choice or personal beliefs, but by an oppressive government. As Bored Panda points out, for many, compulsory hijab now represent the inequality and discrimination Iranian women face because of their gender.

To shed light on this taboo truth, Dutch photographer Marinka Masséus traveled to Iran and worked with a group of anonymous women. Together, they created the “My Stealthy Freedom” photo series that empowers Iranian women to fight for more freedom.

Credit: Marinka Masséus

The photographs highlight the small ways Iranian women defy the regime every day. Some of the women wear their hijab too bright or too low, while other women wear the manteau too short or don pants that are too tight. These little acts are affecting change. Though it may be slow, it is clear Iranian society is changing.

Said Marinka: “With the windows of my Tehran apartment covered with tinfoil to ensure that the flash would not be visible from outside, we were safe to create and let creativity flow. The women threw their brightly colored headscarf in the air and as it inescapably floated back to them, I captured this act of defiance.”

Those who participated in the photo series are some of the bravest among us. This is because the Iranian government constantly passes new laws to keep females suppressed — such as making it illegal for women to ride bicycles. In time, women in Middle Eastern countries will be afforded the same rights females elsewhere are securing.

Following are 10+ photographs from the “My Stealthy Freedom” series:

1)

“Many Iranian women hate compulsory hijab, they see it as a symbol of oppression, forced upon them not by choice or personal beliefs but by an oppressive regime. For them, it has become to represent the inequality and discrimination Iranian women face because of their gender.”

2)

Said Marinka Masséus: “With the windows of my Tehran apartment covered with tinfoil so that the flash would not be visible from outside, we were safe to create and let creativity flow. The women threw their brightly colored headscarf in the air and as it inescapably floated back to them, I captured their act of defiance.”

3)

4)

“Although social media are forbidden in Iran, young people have access via VPN. Women in Tehran are using social media to help their battle. When they get arrested in the street for breaking the hijab rules, they film each other from a safe distance on their phones to document the brutality in the hopes of creating more awareness and to empower other Iranian women.”

5)

“And now these protests have erupted into large demonstrations for democracy and the removal of religious supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei.”

6)

“The regime is trying to suppress the demonstrations with violence and by blocking internet access.”

7)

“The regime blocks internet because the dictatorship does not want the voices of the Iranian people to be heard by the rest of the world.”

8)

“But the voices of the women of Iran cannot be silenced!”

9)

10)

“From the time I went to school I always heard that we all are brothers and sisters! That we are all equal! But in real life.. well there was no equality! Because I had to cover up for the men! How is that equal?! How come they didn’t have to cover up for me?!”

11)

“Revolution happened in Iran before I was born, so when I grew up I thought this is how it must be, women should look like that, but when I checked my mom’s photo or I saw movies I found a paradox, why there is difference between us and the other little girls in other countries?”

12)

“As a girl, I did not want to follow a rule that was forced on me! But I had to, cuz if something is not obeyed here, there will be consequences! And I did not want to trouble myself or my family in any way! So I followed but that did not make me a believer!”

13)

“Masih Alinejad, the tireless activist of the My Stealthy Freedom movement against forced hijab calls upon all foreign female visitors to Iran to NOT wear the headscarf in support of the fight for freedom for women in Iran.”

14)

“I always suffered from compulsory hijab. I always long to feel the wind in my hair. The burden is beyond imagination, but it is just the tip of the iceberg.”

15)

“In recent years, when I could travel to other countries, for the first time in my life, I felt the amazing sense of wind in my hair. People in other countries are not aware that there are countries where women are still fighting for their basic needs.”

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Learn more: marinkamasseus.com



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