Iranian Men Put on Head Scarves to Support Their Wives, Who Must Cover Their Hair

Iranian men in head scarves! Feminists are bound to find the July story in the online newspaper The Independent  amusing and endearing. Mustachioed faces peeking out under white and red and blue hijabs (hair- covering scarves)! They must have known they looked ridiculous . . . in fact, one man wrote, as a caption for his picture, “When my female cousins saw that I was wearing their headscarf, they couldn’t stop laughing. I asked them, does it look so funny on me? I really love and respect my cousins.”

All of the 30 men who sent in pictures of themselves in hijabs (with their wives leaning on their shoulders, flaunting their flowing, uncovered hair) were doing it for their wives and sisters and cousins. As The Independent’s Heather Saul noted, “The images come in response to a call by Masih Alinejad, an Iranian activist and journalist living in New York, who is urging men to support her campaign against enforced hijab.” The morality police strictly enforce the law requiring women to cover their heads; if they flout it, they face penalties from fines to imprisonment. And advertisements call such disobedient females “spoiled” and “dishonorable.”

“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,” Alinejad told the journalist. “In our society, a woman’s existence and identity is justified by a man’s integrity, and in many cases the teachings of a religious authority or government officials influence a man’s misguided sense of ownership over women. So I thought it would be fantastic to invite men to support women’s rights.”

A poignant example of one participant’s sympathy for womens’ plight: He put on his dead mother’s niqab (a veil covering all of the face except the eyes) to see what the garment made her go through daily. He told Alinejad,“I sometimes put her clothes on and remember those hot summer days when she would go out shopping and when she returned, due to the heat, she didn’t even have the energy to speak.”

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