Iranian women defiantly assert, ‘the era of the forced hijab is over’

By | February 26, 2023

The New York Times reports:

An engineer strode onstage at an event in Tehran, wearing tight pants and a stylish shirt, and clutching a microphone in one hand. Her long brown hair, tied in a ponytail, swung freely behind her, uncovered, in open defiance of Iran’s strict hijab law.

“I am Zeinab Kazempour,” she told the convention of Iran’s professional association of engineers. She condemned the group for supporting the hijab rules, and then she marched offstage, removing a scarf from around her neck and tossing it to the floor under a giant image of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The packed auditorium erupted in cheers, claps and whistles. A video of Ms. Kazempour went viral on social media and local news sites, making her the latest champion for many Iranians in a growing, open challenge to the hijab law.

Women have resisted the law, uncovering their hair an inch or a strand at a time, since it went into effect two years after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

But since the death last year of Mahsa Amini, 22, while in the custody of the country’s morality police, women and girls have been at the center of a nationwide uprising, demanding an end not only to hijab requirements but to the Islamic Republic itself.

Women are suddenly flaunting their hair: left long and flowing in the malls; tied in a bun on the streets; styled into bobs on public transportation; and pulled into ponytails at schools and on university campuses, according to interviews with women in Iran as well as photographs and videos online. While these acts of defiance are rarer in more conservative areas, they are increasingly being seen in towns and cities. [Continue reading…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email