Why are some Iranian men wearing female Islamic garb?
Because they have had the courage to respond to a challenge issued by Masih Alinejad, an Iranian activist and journalist living in New York who recently urged men to support her campaign against the enforced wearing of the hijab by Iranian authorities.
Alinejad, according to this report, runs the My Stealthy Freedom campaign and often shares pictures of women living in Iran who have enjoyed a moment of “stealthy freedom” by taking their hijabs off outside of a domestic setting. She has asked men to support her campaign with the #meninhijab hashtag and by sharing pictures with their heads covered while women pose without hijabs.
Alinejad, above, has received 30 images of men wearing a hijab since issuing her call on 22 July. She said some men are also posting their images on their Instagram accounts.
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.
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 sent in a picture of himself wearing his cousin’s headscarf. In the caption, he wrote:
When my female cousins saw that I was wearing their headscarf, they couldn’t stop laughing. I asked them, does it look so funny on me? I really love and respect my cousins.
I think that one should not talk about freedom if she/he supports the idea of restricting other people’s freedom. If only hijab were the only problem in our country, as the authorities would like us to believe. It is as if they have hypnotised our brains with a black piece of cloth and they only want us to believe that hijab is the most important issue in our country.
The man in the top picture described how wearing his mother’s black niqab reminds him of the freedom he was afforded as a man that was denied to her until her death.
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.