A new movement has surfaced in Iran called #MenInHijab in which Iranian men share photos of themselves donning the Muslim head scarf traditionally reserved for women.
It was started by journalist Masih Alinejad through her popular Facebook page “My Stealthy Freedom.” There, Alinejad encourages Iranian women to post photos of themselves sans hijab to make a statement about the need for women to have the choice to wear or not wear the scarf.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iranian law has mandated that women keep their hair covered in public. While some appreciate the symbolism of the hijab, many find it oppressive, which might explain why Alinejad’s page is followed by well over a million people.
The latest initiative sees men taking a turn wearing the veil to stand in solidarity with the women in their lives.
According to one man who wore his cousin’s hijab, “Just like many educated women in the world, Iranian women should live in full enjoyment of their rights and they should be the ones determining what to wear. The fact that they are being forced to wear something against their own will actually tarnishes the image of Iranian men worldwide.”
“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,” Alinejad told the Independent.
“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,” she said. “I thought it would be fantastic to invite men to support women’s rights.”
Though the #MenInHijab campaign focuses on the oppressive nature of the hijab, “My Stealthy Freedom” supports a woman’s right to choose for herself whether or not to wear one.