The hijab is compulsory by law for all Iranian women. In 2017, the online group My Stealthy Freedom was formed to reverse this legislation and allow women choice in how they dress. It’s part of a broader simmering of discontent with the government’s authoritarian rule that has spilled out into anti-government protests. Gutsy Iranian women have been removing their hijabs in total defiance and in the name of freedom, at terrible personal risk. Here are some noteworthy examples of these heroic people.
In one of the first such acts of civil rebellion, on December 27, 2017, a young woman in Iran openly removed her hijab and stood boldly on a platform for all to see. It was a personal declaration of independence and an incredible act of courage, given that such protests are subject to penalties as severe as death. She became known as the “Girl of Enghelab Street,” and has since been identified as Vida Movahed. If ever there was a moment worthy of a statue, this is it. She was arrested, but is believed to have been released under international pressure.
Shaparak Shajarizadeh took off her head scarf in protest in the middle of a busy street. She has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.
It’s a simple thing. This young woman is just walking down the street without a headscarf, but the risk is enormous. Such small moments of bravery are important — fear is contagious, but so is courage.
It’s not just the police that these Iranian women have to worry about, but any busybody who happens to see them.
Warning: This is a tough one to watch. This woman describes her prison sentence for not wearing the hijab. She was repeatedly beaten and raped, and left with a hideous wound on her leg, which she shows.
When this Iranian woman without headscarf is assaulted by a morality policewoman, she gives it right back, and finishes with a delightful kick.
Meanwhile in the West, left-wing women donned hijabs for #WorldHijabDay and took selfies to post to the Internet. So brave! So edgy! This video was shot in Stockholm. There’s a reason why it’s called “Stockholm Syndrome.”