A few weeks ago, we wrote about the Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women (or My Stealthy Freedom) Facebook group, where Iranian women post photos of themselves not wearing hijabs, or the traditional head covering required by the Iranian government. Since then, thousands of Muslim women from all over the world have submitted a photo to the site, and Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women has hundreds of thousands of Facebook likes.
But the movement has also prompted a growing backlash from conservative members of the Islamic Republic, who are also taking to Facebook to express their derision for the movement. One page, Men’s Stealthy Freedoms, skewers the My Stealthy Freedom Facebook group with dozens of photos of men striking seductive poses while wearing scarves or blankets on their heads.
While the page, which has more than 64,000 Facebook likes, is clearly openly derisive of the aims of My Stealthy Freedom, it’s at least intended to be somewhat light-hearted: A description of the page in English says it’s “just for fun.”
Another Facebook group, however, takes a far less light-hearted approach. The page Real Freedom of Iranian Women features posts from Iranian men in support of the mandatory head-covering law, with many arguing that wearing a hijab or niqab is liberating for women and protects their modesty. One post features a photo of three female Iranian journalists with their heads uncovered, the word “rape” scrawled over the photo, along with a warning that women who don’t wear the hijab are more likely to be sexually assaulted.
Yet another Facebook page, the anonymous “Identify Advocates of Debauchery in Cyber Space,” is asking viewers to identify the women who are pictured uncovered on My Stealthy Freedom, so they can be lashed and sent to prison.
Since launching the My Stealthy Freedom Facebook group earlier this month, founder and journalist Masih Alinejad has been inundated with death threats from hardliners in the Islamic Republic. The group also prompted a protest in Tehran, where hundreds marched to demand the arrest of those who violated modesty laws. But the threats and conservative backlash haven’t stopped women from submitting photos to the group: The page now receives a submission roughly every ten minutes.
H/T Telegraph | Photo by Jason Reed