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The Inspiring Reason Iranian Women Are Sharing Photos Of Themselves Riding Bikes

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A ruling last month by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that Iranian women could not ride bicycles because it "attracts the attention of men and exposes the society to corruption," according to The New York Times. Riding a bike, he told state media, "contravenes women’s chastity, and it must be abandoned."

Now, Iranian women are rebelling against the rule by posting photos and videos of themselves biking using the hashtag #IranianWomenLoveCycling.

The hashtag was started by Masih Alinejad, a journalist who founded My Stealthy Freedom, an online movement encouraging Iranian women to share photos of themselves without hijab.

"Expecting Iranian women to enjoy the same rights as men in order to be able to freely ride bicycles in their own country is not too much to ask," she wrote on Instagram. "We are not even doing anything against the law because the activity does not have a penalty in Iran's legal code, so let's respect and support each other."

تا وقتي ما حامي هم باشيم اين چرخ مي چرخد اين توقع زيادي نيست كه زنان و دختران مي خواهند در كشور خودشان حق ساده دوچرخه سواري براي شان ممنوع نشود. ما فقط دوچرخه سواریم و این حتی علیه قوانین موجود هم نیست. چون در هیچ جای قانون نیامده که دوچرخه سواری برای زن ممنوع است. به هم احترام بگذاريم و حامي هم باشيم Expecting Iranian women to enjoy the same rights as men in order to be able to freely ride bicycles in their own country is not too much to ask. We are not even doing anything against the law. because the activity does not have a penalty in Iran's legal code, So Let's respect and support each other. #من_عاشق_دوچرخه_ام #IranianWomenLoveCycling

A photo posted by Masih Alinejad (@masih.alinejad) on


One participant posed next to a sign that read, "Men can focus on two things at once."

Another posted a photo of herself with a little girl in her bike basket.

One even shared a child's bicycle.

A former member of the Iranian National Women's Cycling Team joined in.

Alinejad told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that Iranian women "want to be active in society, but for the clerics, that's the big threat because in their eyes, women should not be seen nor heard, stuck in the kitchen."

However, she believes the backlash from Iranian women will make a huge difference in overturning the ruling, because "women are the main agents of change," she said. "As the wheels of history — or the bicycle in this case — turn, so will women advance."
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