Iranian women are fighting back and showing the world how they feel about their independence. In response to World Hijab Day, a protest movement developed against hijabs, the headscarf that is enforced amongst women in the Middle East. Alongside the hashtag #NoHijabDay, women shared videos of themselves removing the headscarfs and burning them. The timing of the movement is fitting considering the Iranian government recently released a report indicating that half the population is against women having to wear the scarfs despite the dozens of arrests that have been made as a result of the movement.
According to a survery that was conducted in 2014, 49% of people believe that women should be able to decide what they want to wear. There is belief that those numbers would be even higher if another study was conducted today.
Many women around the world choose to wear the hijab, however; the wearing of the scarf is enforced in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Arab Emirates.
Anoud Al Ali is one of the many women who posted a liberating video of herself burning the scarf. She grew up in the United Arab Emirates but now lives France and has called her recent freedom from the hijab to be “true happiness.” Ali admitted that she was forced to wear the scarf her entire life and if she didn’t then she would be punished with lower grades in school.
Ali was proud to share a video of herself as she unwrapped the hijab from her head, smiled, shook out her hair and proceeded to happily burn the scarf. She made sure to say “Happy hijab day,” and as the scarf was catching fire she added to it by saying “burn baby burn.” She then posted it online, alongside the following post…
“As promised, I did it on my birthday, it feels so liberating to burn the #hijab. And I am doing that in solidarity to #Iranian women who are protesting against the mandatory hijab and for all the forced girls. #nohijabday we are not candies or diamonds to be covered. We’re humans.”
The hijab has been enforced since 1979 and over the past few weeks the movement has picked up steam, liberating several women along the way.
Since the movement, the Iranian Judiciary made a statement alluding to the fact that all the women who had taken their scarfs off in public had been under the influence of drugs. So far, 29 women have been arrested by the Tehran police for taking the scarfs off in public.
The movement is said to have been started by Vida Movahed, a 31-year-old woman arrested in December for taking off her headscarf in protest. Evidently, she was detained and spent a month in custody with her 20-month-old daughter. She quickly became known as the The Girl In Enghelab Street. She has also become the poster child for the White Wednesdays movement, which encourages Iranian women and those who support their stance to take off their jihab.
The reason it’s called White Wednesdays is because white is the most common color for headscarves in Iran.