Launched by Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad in 2014, My Stealthy Freedom is a commendable campaign that shows women defying strict hijab restrictions in Iran. This movement has been gaining a lot of momentum recently on their Facebook page and is currently even receiving support from tourists in Iran. Ms. Alinejad shares photos of men in hijabs and women in Iran who took part in a moment of “covert freedom” by removing their hijabs to the outside world.
Regarding the men posting photos in hijabs for the campaign, she describes: “Most of these men live in Iran and they have witnessed how their female relatives suffered at the hands of the morality police and humiliation of forced hijab.” Men in Iran have uploaded photos in hijab on social media to prevent women from being forced to cover their hair in public. Hijabs have been heavily enforced in Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Women who choose to go without a headscarf, as well as women dressed in a ‘bad hijab’ by showing facial expressions, punish the so-called ‘morality police’ ranging from fines to imprisonment.
Men and women continue to oppose regulations requiring women to wear hijab in the My Stealthy Freedom campaign.
This one Man [above] sent in a photo wearing his cousin’s headscarf. In the caption, he writes: “I don’t think you should talk about freedom if he/she supports the idea of limiting the freedom of others. If only hijab were the only problem in our country, as the authorities would have us believe. is like they have hypnotized our brains with a black cloth and they just want us to believe that the hijab is the most important issue in our country.” For millions of Iranian women, this mandatory hijab is an insult to their freedom of expression.
In the photo above, the caption wrote: “Shocked by this picture? A group of grown men wearing hijabs. Do you think it’s funny? Is it right? To be honest, you might be tempted to think it’s strange or even unnatural to see a man in hijab.However, for the past 38 years, women have been forced to wear a mandatory hijab, without saying anything about it.Some of these women find the veil unnatural in itself and it does not represent their true selves. As an expression of faith, the point of the hijab is that it should be a choice for women to decide.
Mandatory hijab is an insult to both sexes. This photo writes: “If the hijab is mandatory, it is not only an insult to women, it is also an insult to men. Dear men: If the government decides that the hijab must be mandatory, it automatically means that they see you as unclean, easily provoked and weak. They think that men must be really weak to get aroused after seeing only a few strands of loose hair. If you keep silent when women are forced to wear the hijab or when they insult our freedom, then let insult you too. Many Iranian men are already supporting us and fighting shoulder to shoulder with us for women’s rights, but we certainly need more from you.” Women cannot do this alone. It is up to the men to support women who fight against the practice of the mandatory hijab. Hijab punishes women for men’s inability to control themselves, when really men should just be held accountable for their actions – not women.
While the Iranian men and women involved in the My Stealthy Freedom campaign may seem radical to the people of Iran, they are brave and also understand that women deserve to be seen and not to be hidden. They deserve to be able to dance, sing solo, hold hands with someone they love and let their hair down, but millions of women in Iran are not free to do these things. Masih Alinejad says: “Women in Iran are breaking the law every day to be ourselves.” In this video, she describes the laws that women must break to live. Alinejad says: “I am a master criminal because the government thinks I have too much hair, too much voice and that I am too much of a woman.” This is exactly the kind of attitude she inspires women in Iran with her My Stealthy Freedom campaign. Abolishing the mandatory hijabs is the first step towards equality and ending the suffering women in Iran have endured.