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Men show their support for Iranian women by wearing hijabs

The #MenInHijab hashtag challenges Iran's law that women must wear the head covering.


Jaya Saxena


Posted on Aug 5, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 8:06 am CDT

Over the past two years, journalist Masih Alinejad’s My Stealthy Freedom has gained attention for a number of campaigns that fight the compulsory law that Iranian women must wear hijab. Until now, the movement has mainly been about encouraging women in Iran, whether residents or tourists, to post photos of themselves without their hijabs. 

Now, men are getting in on the action.

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The #MenInHijab campaign encourages men to show their support by wearing the traditional head covering, which has been legally required for women in Iran since 1979. My Stealthy Freedom says, it is “the right for individual Iranian women to choose whether they want hijab,” not the government’s job to tell them what to wear.

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من امروز حجاب بر سر مى كنم . اول براى حمايت از زنان ايرانى كه سال ها است ظلم حجاب اجبارى را تحمل مى كنند . دوم براى مبارزه با محدوديت هاى اجبارى در جامعه ايران ، نتيجه اين محدوديت ها چيزى جز عقب ماندگى و فقر فرهنگى براى جامعه ما نيست . بى غيرتى بى حجابى نيست ، بى غيرتى يعنى اينكه من محدوديت و ظلم رو در حق مادر ، خواهر و زنان كشورم ببينم و ساكت بنشينم . به اميد روزى كه بتوانيم آزادانه لباس بپوشيم ، آزادانه حرف بزنيم و آزادانه عمل كنيم . Today I will wear Hijab , first to support Iranian women who endure the cruelty of forced Hijab for years . Second , to fight against all imposed limitations in Iranian society , the result of these limitations is nothing but backwardness and cultural poverty for our society . Non- Hijab is not dishonor , dishonor means I look at all these oppressions and limitations for my mother , sister and women of my country and I stay calm . Hope for a day we could wear freely , talk freely and do freely . Aujourd'hui je porte le Hijab, premièrement pour soutenir les femmes iraniennes qui subissent la cruauté du Hijab qui leur est imposé. Deuxièmement, je le porte pour dénoncer les limites imposées dans la société iranienne, le résultat de ces limites n'étant rien d'autre qu'un retour en arrière et d'une terrible pauvreté culturelle pour notre société. Ne pas porter le Hijab n'est pas un déshonneur. Cela en est un cependant de voir toutes ces oppressions et limitations imposées à ma mère, mes sœurs, et femmes de mon pays en silence. J'espère qu'un jour on pourra s'habiller librement, parler librement, et agir librement. #meninhijab #مردان_باحجاب #masihalinejad

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Iranian women have long protested the law, and last year the Iranian government rejected another law that would have given greater power to police and “voluntary militias” to enforce the hijab requirement. Men in Iran do not face punishment or imprisonment for wearing hijab in public, but perhaps the campaign will help influence public opinion on what many believe should be a personal religious choice, not a legal compulsion. 

As one Instagram user put it, “Compulsory veil is an immense cruelty to half of Iran’s population while also being a huge insult to the other half.”

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*First Published: Aug 5, 2016, 10:18 am CDT