Facing a dress code that mandates clothing that covers everything except the face and hands, Iranian women have begun using Facebook to subvert the regime’s restrictive laws, posting pictures of themselves in “immodest” dress,
The Facebook page, called Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women, has garnered over 130,000 likes since it opened on May 3.
Women post pictures of themselves in locations across Iran, at beaches, campsites, and mountainsides, with many letting their scarves fly in the winds or draping them across their shoulders.
“I just want to have the right to CHOOSE!” wrote one anonymous contributor. “Maybe I would have even chosen to wear a scarf if I’d had options to choose from. But it hurts me so much when others make decisions for ME instead of myself! My photo is grey; just like my life.”
“Feels like they had already built a box before we were even born, to imprison us within right since we were born; and limit us within their own wishes and rules, their own Shoulds and Should Nots! A box full of fear of their presence, and a box which is now empty of us all! Today, thousands of women are coming out of these boxes and try to breathe, even if it is just for a moment! With the hope of their freedom,” wrote another, who included a picture of herself walking across a bridge over a river in Javaher-Deh, northern Iran.
Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad, the page’s administrator, started the movement when she posted a picture of herself driving without a headscarf on May 2, news website Vocativ reported.
She currently lives in exile in the UK, where she is an outspoken critic of the Iranian regime.
According to the page’s description, the initiative is not connected to any political group.
Women in Iran can face up to 70 lashes for being seen in public in insufficiently modest clothing. They can also be sent to prison for two months.
Though the punishments are less enforced now than in the decades after the Islamic Revolution, modesty police often crack down before the summer months. Cafes and barbershops deemed immoral are also shut down.