Iran, like much of the Middle East, is home to a religious government that mandates certain dress codes for women. Although Iran is actually more progressive than some of its counterparts in many of aspects, they still require women to cover their heads with a veil or scarf known as a "Hijab." In a country that's no stranger to sweltering heat, this restriction is often highly impractical. For years, Iranian women have had to quietly keep their opinions to themselves, but one woman is seeking to open up the conversation.
Masih Alinejad is an Iranian journalist who advocates for religious freedom and women's rights.
She's speaking out against the Hijab, the mandatory Islamic veil that all women in Iran have been forced to wear since 1979.
Official estimates by Iranian national security forces state that in 2014, roughly 3.6 million women were warned, fined or arrested by the country's morality police for failure to adhere to suitable Islamic dress codes.
As a child in Iran, Masih recalls the freedom her brother had that she didn't: "He was free to run in a green, lovely farm without head scarf."
These days, she lives in the U.S., where she is constantly amazed by the freedom and diversity here.
I love that! Two women with head scarves, and two women without head scarves. Look at how they are free! They just, you know, walk past each other without judging each other. Without getting arrested by the morality police. Isn’t that beautiful?Advertisement
Masih posted some pictures of herself without a Hijab on Facebook and soon, other people were sending her their pictures.
She got enough submissions that she started a Facebook group, My Stealthy Freedom. The page has over 800,000 followers (and counting) and has become a way for Iranian women to speak up for their freedom.
In Iran, a woman showing her hair is a punishable offense that can even result in jail time.
In spite of the risk, thousands of women and girls are bravely supporting each other in their shared cause.
There are even women who favor the Hijab but still support a woman's right to decide for herself.
There are also plenty of Iranian men who support the movement.
A lot of the messages Masih receives are from young women who simply want to feel the breeze blowing through their hair.
"Iran is for all Iranians. Iran is me and my mother. My mother wants to wear a scarf. I don’t want to wear a scarf. Iran should be for both of us."
See the video below to learn more, and be sure to check out My Stealthy Freedom's Facebook page: