Men in Iran are wearing hijabs to protest against the country’s strict female modesty codes

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  • Their wives, sisters, daughters and girlfriends are forced to wear the hijab, so now men in Iran are protesting by putting one on themselves

    Women in Iran live under some of the strictest laws in the world.

    A married woman cannot leave her home without her husband’s permission, a woman’s testimony in court is worth exactly half of a man’s (in compliance with sharia law) and honour killings are still frighteningly commonplace.

    One set of laws which affect every woman in Iran’s day-to-day life are the country’s modesty codes. In all public places, women must wear a hijab (or headscarf) and loose fitting clothing (normally a chador). In Tehran this summer, 7000 undercover police officers are out in force, targeting anyone showing ‘immodest’ dress – a loose hijab or sliver of bare leg on show – despite average temperatures sitting at around 30C.

    Many Muslim women in Iran, as in the UK, wear the hijab by choice. But others, particularly young women, feel bullied and constrained by laws which require them to cover themselves up whether they want to or not. So this summer, in a show of solidarity, the male family members and friends of these women all over Iran are showing their support by flipping the enforced dress code on its head.

    On the Facebook page My Stealthy Freedom, men are posting pictures of themselves wearing hijabs next to their wives, girlfriends and daughters.

    ‘The compulsory veil is an immense cruelty to half of Iran’s population, while also being a huge insult to the other half’ reads one post.

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    Another post points out the difficulty of wearing a hijab in soaring temperatures: ‘My father and my cousin decided to join the #meninhijab campaign. At first, they laughed while wearing the veil. However, about a minute later, both started sweating due to the heat. In the end, they both concluded that having to wear the veil constantly must be a disaster. “The bottom line is” they said “we cannot stand wearing the veil even for a minute. How on earth can you, women, abide this obligation at all times?” They never sympathised with us to this degree before.’

    One post (below) also highlighted a newspaper article which proved the dress code laws for women in Iran in 1979 were not nearly as strict as they are now:

    ‘The copy of the newspaper is from 1979, when Islamic Republic leaders said there will be no compulsory hijab. For Iranians this newspaper front page has become a bitter joke. If we had social media back then, then maybe we could have reminded the Islamic Republic of their promise. Who knows, maybe we’d be free of compulsory hijab too.’

    Head to the Facebook page My Stealthy Freedom for more pictures of men in hijabs, or follow the hashtag #MenInHijabs.

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