Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad knew that many women in her country chafe under the requirement that they never appear in public without the hijab (head covering). She also knew that many remove their veils not only at home but outside in a field or place where they feel secure. (A woman can be jailed for 60 days or subjected to 70 lashes for appearing without the mandated hijab.)
So Alinejad asked Iranian women whether they had “stealthy freedom,” i.e., felt they could remove the veil outdoors. When she was “bombarded” with selfies of bare-headed Iranian women, Alinejad posted them online, creating a Facebook page for them. The photos were accompanied by simple messages, such as, “I want to feel the wind through my hair” and “We believe in hijab, but we hate compulsory hijab.” Now there are thousands of pictures, even though both Twitter and Facebook are banned. Ironically, the unveiled women are safer in Facebook, seen all over the world, than they are in the streets of their own city. Watch Masih Alinejad tell the story.
I thank journalist and crime fiction writer Naïri Nahapétian for making me aware of Stealthy Freedom when I interviewed her for the forthcoming issue (No. 5) of Noir Nation.