In a display of solitary with their wives, men in Iran are wearing hijabs across the country. Answering a campaign, ‘My Stealthy Freedom’ by Masih Alinejad, an Iranian activist and journalist living in New York the men are protesting against the ‘moral policing’ imposed in Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
The women in Iran are forced to cover their heads in Public and wearing a headscarf is strictly enforced by the so-called ‘morality police’ in Iran. The women who do not adhere to the rules and do not veil their face or wear a ‘bad’ hijab, showing strands of their hair are punished. Often they are fined, flogged or imprisoned.
The state runs entire propaganda where billboards are dedicated to portray the image of an ‘ideal woman’ and presents those who do not cover their hair as spoiled and dishonourable. Women are also told that by not complying, they are putting themselves at risk of unwanted sexual advances from men.
Women in Iraq have been protesting against the forced ‘veil’ by shaving their heads and launching various campaigns and now their husbands, cousins and male relatives have come out to support their protest and acknowledge their struggle.
Over the last week, a number of men have appeared in photos wearing a hijab with their wife or female relative next to them who have their hair uncovered. Alinejad, receiving such response on her campaign says, “Most of these men are living inside Iran and they have witnessed how their female relatives have been suffering at the hands of the morality police and humiliation of enforced hijab.”
She also says, “For years, from childhood to womanhood, we’ve been forced to wear the compulsory headscarf and for years we have had to endure the loss of our dignity. Many men have gotten used to seeing women in compulsory hijab every day and you think that is normal. But for millions of Iranian women, this compulsory hijab is an insult to their dignity. In our society, a woman’s existence and identity is justified by a man’s integrity, and in many cases the teachings of a religious authority or government officials influence a man’s misguided sense of ownership over women. So I thought it would be fantastic to invite men to support women’s rights.”
One man described wearing his mother’s niqab remembers the freedom that she couldn’t have till her death and says “When the Islamic Revolution took place, my mother started wearing hijab because it was compulsory. And she never believed in hijab. In Khuzestan’s hot summers she was forced to go out in this attire. My mother died and only her clothes are left for me as a keepsake. I sometimes put her clothes on and remember those hot summer days when she would go out shopping and when she returned, due to the heat, she didn’t even have the energy to speak. I was always ashamed for my mother and my sisters. I was against hijab and my father and brothers also felt the same way. It’s very tough to go out in such clothing in the hot weather of Ahvaz – it’s indescribable.”