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Why Men In Iran Are Taking Selfies Wearing Hijabs

Photo: Courtesy of My Stealthy Freedom Facebook.
Iran is known for its strict policing of women’s dress and behaviour. Women have spearheaded the fightback against enforced hijab so far, and now men are joining in.

In the last week, many men have posted photos of themselves wearing the hijab to social media, in solidarity with women in the country, who are forced to cover their heads in public, the Independent reported.

Many of the photos show a man wearing the hijab next to his wife or a female relative whose hair is uncovered.

In Iran, undercover agents, the so-called “morality police”, roam the streets to ensure women wear the hijab and comply with the rules. Women face punishment, from fines to imprisonment, if they are seen without the hijab or are wearing it so far back that their hair is exposed, known as “bad hijab”. These rules have been in place since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, before which fashion in Iran was unrecognisable from what we see today.
State-sponsored adverts portray women who cover their hair as honourable, while those who don't are objectified and compared to spoiled food. One advert depicts women who don't wear the hijab as an opened lollypop covered in flies.

Women in Iran have been campaigning against the enforced hijab and the strict laws governing their behaviour. Recently, many have even shaved their hair and dressed like men in order to avoid run-ins with the morality police.

The most prominent movement online against the enforced hijab is My Stealthy Freedom, fronted by journalist Masih Alinejad, which encourages Iranian women to post photos of themselves without hijabs.

Alinejad is leading the drive to involve men in the movement and has urged them to post their photos to social media with the hashtag #MenInHijab.
“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," she told the Independent.

She added: "Many men have gotten used to seeing women in compulsory hijab every day and you think that is normal. But for millions of Iranian women, this compulsory hijab is an insult to their dignity. "

One man, wearing his cousin's hijab, wrote on My Stealthy Freedom: "The fact that they are forced to wear something against their will tarnishes, in reality, the image of Iranians everywhere in the world. That's why this new campaign can at the same time draw attention to the plight of Iranian and also show the real face of Iran and Iranians."