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Why are some Iranian men wearing female Islamic garb?

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.

activist

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.

hihabs

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.

13 responses to “Why are some Iranian men wearing female Islamic garb?”

  1. I feel sick. says:

    Christopher Hitchens always maintained that burgeoning population of young people in Iran is becoming more and more intolerant of demands of the muslim clerics. Pre khomeni Iran was much more westernised. Hitchens view was that Iran was getting close to the tipping point of revolt …. That the clerics are headed for a good kicking. I hope he was right.

  2. Broga says:

    ” who have enjoyed a moment of “stealthy freedom”

    The abuse of women is appalling. And often the “stealthy freedom” is removed forever while the woman is still a child. I heard a woman interviewed on the BBC World Service who said her clitoris was sliced off while she was a very young girl.

    Now normal intercourse, and sexual pleasure, is forever impossible because of the agony. And that is only one of the sufferings caused by this hellish practice imposed, without anaesthetic, on very young girls.

  3. John the Drunkard says:

    Broga;

    Do Iranians practice FGM? Its notorious in Egypt, Somalia, Sudan etc. And considered ‘part of Islam’ in those places. But those are all Sunnis. I hadn’t heard of Shia inflicting that one on their daughters.

  4. sam says:

    @ John the Drunkard,
    We had never heard the FGM in Iran until just recently which seem to be happening in the rural area of the country which by itself has shocked the Iranian women’s organizations inside and outside the country. From what I remeber this had happened in around city of Bandar Abbas and some rural area of Baluchestan province.
    Thanks

  5. Stephen Mynett says:

    There are Sunnis in Iran: http://www.stopfgmmideast.org/countries/iran/

  6. Trevor Blake says:

    It might be quite upsetting to the opponents of the imaginary disease “islamaphobia” to learn that the hijab is in fact not optional for many women. Please be considerate of their feelings, won’t you? Keep pretending that Islam is no different than any religion, and that all religions are no more than a fashion, a cuisine and a few traditional gestures – like a sport but for the “soul.” Please don’t upset the Muslims and their defenders by suggesting Muslims practice Islam.

    Or, risk being shot or decapitated or having acid thrown at your face or being thrown from a building or being stoned to death. How? By rejecting Islam. By rejecting all religions but Islam first and most. We can get to the more peaceable, simply mistaken religions later.

  7. barriejohn says:

    How refreshing; and how odd to hear of Iranian women clamouring to be free from the requirement to wear a piece of clothing that marks out their inferiority to the males in their society, when all the time we are being lectured by European Muslims on the fact that their hijabs are “empowering”:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/may/28/hijab-society-women-religious-political

    I heard the same thing over and over again from the Brethren: the fact that women have to keep their mouths shut and do as they are told both in the church and at home doesn’t mean that they are in any way inferior to men – it just means that they are “different”, and these restrictions actually “set them free” to do the work that “God” intended them to do. It’s amazing the way that the religious can twist things around to suit their purposes – and the way that so many accept this.

  8. Broga says:

    @John the Drunkard : I don’t know the answer to your question. Wherever it is not practised is good to hear. The UK government has taken some weak and unenthusiastic steps to prosecute those who torture girls in this way.

    I wrote to my MP years ago and he replied with some pacifying verbiage which included the phrase “problems of cultural sensitivity.”

  9. Stephen Mynett says:

    Broga, I should have noted my post above was to John the Drunkard as that supplies the answer to his question.

  10. Broga says:

    @Stephen Mynett : Thanks.

  11. barriejohn says:

    I was trying to think who that guy in the photo reminded me of, and then it suddenly came to me:

    http://now-here-this.timeout.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Life-of-Brian.jpg

    “He’s a very naughty boy!”

  12. chrsbol says:

    I can recommend a recent (2011) book which illustrates the tight control in Iran.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Then_They_Came_for_Me

    Don’t expect change anytime soon although stories like this are encouraging.