#WhiteWednesdays: Iranian Women Challenge Mandatory Headscarf Laws
The Iranian law which makes it compulsory for women to wear a headscarf is facing a lot of opposition. The law was imposed in 1979 as a measure to “ensure modesty” as per Islamic law.
However, before 1979, when the Islamic Revolution came to Iran, many Iranian women wore western outfits including jeans and miniskirts. Now, it is a different picture altogether.
To protest against this law, a new social media campaign #WhiteWednesdays, has emerged. Started by Masih Alinejad, founder of My Stealthy Freedom, an online campaign against mandatory dress code in Iran, the campaign uses hashtag #WhiteWednesdays, and women who are participating are ditching their headscarf and wearing only white on Wednesdays. Women residing in Iran share photos of themselves not wearing their hijabs.
#WhiteWednesdays has given women the opportunity to demonstrate what they believe in and a way to campaign against the archaic laws.
A risky campaign in a country like Iran – My Stealthy Freedom started about three years ago and has received more than 3,000 photos and videos of women who did not adhere to the new rule of wearing a scarf around their heads. #WhiteWednesdays has given women the opportunity to demonstrate what they believe in.
Masih started this campaign as a way to voice her concerns. She receives videos and photos every day of women from Iran, and some from Saudi Arabia (where the headscarf is mandatory). It has been five weeks since the campaign went live and it is giving women a platform to voice their opinion. One woman said in her video tagged #WhiteWednesdays, “I want to talk to you of my imprisonment… they imposed hijab on me since I was seven,” she says, shaking her headscarf loose, “while I never felt committed to it and won’t be.”
“…even if this leads me to jail and sleeping with cockroaches, it would be worth it to help the next generation.”
The women who support the cause say that it is an important step for the future generations. One of them even said, “even if this leads me to jail and sleeping with cockroaches, it would be worth it to help the next generation.” There are men who support this movement as well. Masih Alinejad is currently living in a self-imposed exile in the US and has not been to her country since 2009. She cannot go back in fear of getting arrested. There is a lot of media backlash because of her campaign, but this will not stop Miss Alinejad, as she is determined to help make a change in Iran.
Pic credits: My Stealthy Freedom Facebook