why iranian women are cutting their hair and dressing as men
In Iran, where the covering of hair in public is mandatory for women, some are taking extreme measures to avoid the nation's overbearing morality police: including cutting off their hair and dressing in men's clothing. This comes at a time when Iran's government is cracking down hard on the gendered dress code, arresting eight Iranian Instagram models last week for posting photos online of their uncovered hair. Now a number of women are joining the crusade by posting photos of themselves sporting cropped hair and loose T-shirts.
A Facebook page called "My Stealthy Freedom," which currently has almost one million fans, recently featured a photo of a girl on a public walkway wearing short hair and casual men's clothing. "I'm an Iranian girl," she wrote. "In order to avoid the morality police, I decided to cut my hair short and wear men's clothes so that I can freely walk in the streets in Iran." The page was launched by journalist and activist Masih Alinejad two years ago to fight what she sees as oppressive mandatory hijab laws. "The Government wants to create fear but women have found their own way to freely walk in the streets of Iran or drive without covering their heads," Alinejad told The Independent. "It is a serious cultural war between two lifestyles. For women, their hair is their identity and making it short to just avoid the morality police is really heartbreaking, but in a way, it is brave."
One fan of Alinejad's group contributed a video of herself walking through the street wearing a T-shirt and baseball cap in defiance of law enforcement. "Iran is a country where certain young women who do not believe in the compulsory veil have now started dressing up as men to enjoy the liberty of going to stadiums or to even walk in the streets without having to wear the headscarf," read the caption. "This short video prepared by one of our followers living in Iran says: 'I am a girl and this is my stealthy freedom.' We sincerely hope for the day when women in Iran will no longer be obliged to live in fear and their moments of stealthy freedom will be transformed into real ones."
Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Instagram