Brave Iranian Women Challenge Oppressive Regime By Defying Compulsory Hijab Laws In Stunning Photos

Dutch photographer Marinka Masséus went to Iran to create a photo project about ‘My Stealthy Freedom’, the movement that empowers Iranian women to fight for more freedom.


Many Iranian women hate compulsory hijab, they see it as a symbol of oppression, forced upon them not by choice or personal beliefs but by an oppressive government. For them, it has become to represent the inequality and discrimination Iranian women face because of their gender.



Every day, Iranians, especially the women, defy the regime courageously by small acts of defiance. By wearing the hijab too low, the colors too bright, the pants too tight or the manteau too short. Together these constant acts of bravery are affecting change, slowly but visibly evolving. The regime responds to this with regular crack-downs – when women are arrested and harassed – and by creating new laws, like the recent ban for women to ride a bicycle.

Marinka: “With the windows of my Tehran apartment covered with tinfoil to ensure that the flash would not be visible from outside, we were safe to create and let creativity flow. The women threw their brightly colored headscarf in the air and as it inescapably floated back to them, I captured this act of defiance.”

More info: marinkamasseus.com

Many Iranian women hate compulsory hijab, they see it as a symbol of oppression, forced upon them not by choice or personal beliefs but by an oppressive regime. For them it has become to represent the inequality and discrimination Iranian women face because of their gender.

Photographer Marinka Masséus: “With the windows of my Tehran apartment covered with tinfoil so that the flash would not be visible from outside, we were safe to create and let creativity flow. The women threw their brightly colored headscarf in the air and as it inescapably floated back to them, I captured their act of defiance.”

Every day, Iranians, especially the women, defy the regime courageously by small acts of defiance. By wearing the hijab too low, the colors too bright, the pants too tight or the manteaux too short. Together these constant acts of bravery are affecting change, slowly but visibly evolving. The regime responds to this with regular crack-downs – when women are arrested and harassed – and by creating new laws, like the recent ban for women to ride a bicycle.

Although social media are forbidden in Iran, young people have access via VPN. Women in Tehran are using social media to help their battle. When they get arrested in the street for breaking the hijab rules, they film each other from a safe distance on their phones to document the brutality in the hopes of creating more awareness and to empower other Iranian women.

And now these protests have erupted into large demonstrations for democracy and the removal of religious supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

The regime is trying to suppress the demonstrations with violence and by blocking internet access.

The regime blocks internet because the dictatorship does not want the voices of the Iranian people to be heard by the rest of the world.

But the voices of the women of Iran cannot be silenced!

“From the time I went to school I always heard that we all are brothers and sisters! That we are all equal! But in real life.. well there was no equality! Because I had to cover up for the men! How is that equal?! How come they didn’t have to cover up for me?!”

“Revolution happened in Iran before I was born, so when I grew up I thought this is how it must be, women should look like that, but when I checked my mom’s photo or I saw movies I found a paradox, why there is difference between us and the other little girls in other countries?”

“As a girl, I did not want to follow a rule that was forced on me! But I had to, cuz if something is not obeyed here, there will be consequences! And I did not wanted to trouble myself or my family in any way! So I followed but that did not made me a believer!”

“After the government repressed the Green Movement in 2009, many of the young people have given up hope. But I haven’t.”

“I got arrested by “gashte ershad” special police for compulsory hijab. They treated me like a criminal and then I got the bitter truth, I felt like a bird stuck in a cage. All my life I tried to respect other people’s believes but no one in government has respected mine. Every time I want to go out I feel someone’s oppression and injustice on my head, I really feel imprisoned in scarf and hijab.”

“When I look around in the streets and see the bright colors, the girls wearing the hijabs so low with strands of hair showing, I see hope. I see change. Even 5 years ago it was all brown and black, like the regime wants. But now colors, colors, colors! So every day I wear my bright colored hijab and get on my bike (which is against the law now) to defy the regime. And I will live my life and not hide who I am. I have hope.”

“In recent years, when I could travel to other countries, for the first time in my life, I felt the amazing sense of wind in my hair. People in other countries are not aware that there are countries where women are still fighting for their basic needs.”

“I always suffered from compulsory hijab. I always long to feel the wind in my hair. The burden is beyond imagination, but it is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Photographer Marinka Masséus: “I have experienced firsthand the impact of not obeying hijab rules since a lot of times in Iran, I did not wear the compulsory headscarf – both in restaurants and in the streets. I was amazed by the heartfelt responses. Women coming up to me, thanking me, hugging me, wanting to be in the picture with me, waving from across the street and letting their hijab ‘casually’ slip as well. I was treated like a symbol of freedom just by showing my hair.”

Masih Alinejad, the tireless activist of the My Stealthy Freedom movement against forced hijab calls upon all foreign female visitors to Iran to NOT wear the headscarf in support of the fight for freedom for women in Iran.

My Stealthy Freedom

read full article here :

Brave Iranian Women Challenge Oppressive Regime By Defying Compulsory Hijab Laws In Stunning Photos

Please Share
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please share
Hide Buttons