Here’s why Iranian men are taking photos wearing hijabs

Several Iranian men are posting images of themselves wearing hijabs online in protest of the strict dress codes women in Iran have to abide by. .
Several Iranian men are posting images of themselves wearing hijabs online in protest of the strict dress codes women in Iran have to abide by. . My Stealthy Freedom/Facebook

Iranian men are taking a stand for the rights of the women and girls by covering up. Men are posting photos online of themselves wearing hijabs (headscarves) in protest of Iran‘s strict morality codes that force women to keep their hair covered when they’re out in public.

The campaign is being publicized by a Facebook group called My Stealthy Freedom, which has been at the forefront of several other online protests for women’s rights.

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One photo posted on the group’s Facebook page shows a man wearing a red headscarf, along with a woman without a hijab on. The caption explained Iran’s conservatives “are not representative of Iranian men at all.”

“I hate when they used morality police in order to force my wife to wear compulsory hijab. There are a lot of men in Iran who have respect for women’s freedom of choice,” a translation of the post read.

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It’s one of several photos of men in hijabs or niqabs shared on the page with the hashtag #MenInHijab.

The creator of My Stealthy Freedom is New York-based journalist activist Masih Alinejad.

“For years, from childhood to womanhood, we’ve been forced to wear the compulsory headscarf and for years we have had to endure the loss of our dignity,” she told the Independent.

“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.”

She added many of these men have seen first hand how the women and girls in their lives have endured “suffering at the hands of the morality police.”

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According to a 2015 report from Amnesty International, as many as 2.9 million Iranian women received police warnings for not abiding by the Islamic dress code. More than 207,000 had to sign written promises saying they would not commit the offence again.

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Iran’s so-called Islamic morality police patrol the streets looking for violators of the country’s strict Islamic codes of conduct. In Tehran, the police chief recently sent 7,000 plainclothes officers — male and female — into action.

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Although policing whether women are covering their heads is one of the force’s principal mandates , the officers also police whether men are sporting Western haircuts or if members of the opposite sex are socializing out in public.

Just two days ago, the so-called morality police detained as many as 150 people at a party that both young men and women were attending.

“A while ago, we received a tipoff about a mixed-gender party at a garden in the vicinity of Islamshahr, in the west of the Tehran province,” senior police commander Moshen Khancherli telling Iran’s Tasnim news agency, according to The Guardian. “[Police forces managed] to arrest tens of boys and girls during a joint operation with one of the relevant departments.”

My Stealthy Freedom has previously challenged the conditions put upon women. A campaign earlier this year saw Iranian women sharing photos of themselves out in public with their hijabs removed or dressing in men’s clothing.