Iranian Women Shed Hijabs, Men Wear Them. But It's Not What You Think.

No, men in Iran are not donning headscarves to support women’s rights in their conservative country. It’s actually the other way around.

Last week, a Facebook page, which features Iranian women posting images of their uncovered hair, went viral. Entitled “My Stealthy Freedom”, the social media account is run by a UK-based Iranian political journalist, Masih Alinejad, who lives in the UK.

Alinejad created it as a platform for the women in Iran, a conservative Islamic republic, to help them express themselves by taking off their hijab – or headscarf – which they are legally required to wear.

As soon as My Stealthy Freedom was picked up by international media outlets such as The Washington Post, BBC, and The Daily Beat, a backlash began.

Rival Facebook pages were created, by Iranian men mostly, ridiculing those women and attacking them for posting their photos on a public forum.

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It all started when Alinejad posted a selfie on her personal Facebook account accompanied by the hashtag #mystealthyfreedom.

When she asked other women if they felt the same need to put up bare-headed photos, she received a staggering response. So much so, a separate page had to be created.

Within a matter of two days, around 30,000 women joined My Stealthy Freedom and after two weeks, the page scored more than 200,000 likes.

Here are some of the images the members posted:

While many lauded Alinejad’s effort, there were, as has always been the case, critics and opponents who attacked the women for having a different opinion than theirs.

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This is what is being posted on one of the online rival groups, “Men stealthy freedom in Iran.”

It’s obviously an attempt to sabotage the attempt made by Alinejad and her followers. It just goes to show how unwilling these men are to let women in Iran stand up for their rights – even if it concerns something as trivial as a headscarf.

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