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‘The blatant evidence that a woman’s failure to cover a few strands of hair can upend her right to security, life, and freedom has shocked Iran’s conscience.’

‘[A] distinct feature of the current protests is the presence of very young women at the forefront. In many of the protests, women appear to outnumber men and do not seem afraid of being seen without hijab, even in the presence of security forces…

As evinced by the outburst of public indignation triggered by [Mahsa] Amini’s death, her case is not seen as an isolated incident but the visible tip of an iceberg of injustice, humiliation, indignity, and oppression routinely felt by countless Iranian women intercepted by the so-called guidance patrols charged with enforcing Article 638 of the Islamic Penal Code: refusing to comply with state’s conception of “Islamic hijab” in public spaces is a criminal offense punishable by flogging, incarceration, or a fine…

More than four decades after the Islamic Republic embarked on the Sisyphean enterprise of bureaucratizing a very narrow definition of Islamic morality, with an almost obsessive focus on women’s appearance in public, mandatory hijab as well as the institutions set up to enforce it have failed veritably at forcing the state’s interpretation of “Islamic hijab” on Iranian women.

Instead, this encroachment on women’s liberty has gradually sown resentment in the hearts of millions of Iranian women and their families—resentment not only toward a dehumanizing law but also toward the state as a whole. Countless videos now course through social media showing the humiliating way Iranian police officers routinely manhandle women into vans before they are taken to detention centers to be “guided” and “educated.” Such encounters are at best stressful and patronizing, and at worst lethally brutal.

It is also counterproductive. In the face of such repression, women’s voluntary adherence to the state’s ideal hijab has not increased but drastically decreased over the last few decadessomething even authorities openly acknowledge. Support for the hijab law and the morality police is even lower than the rates of public compliance…’

Sajjad Safaei, Foreign Policy


Injustice, humiliation, indignity, and oppression: It’s important to think hard about the micro-phenomenology of all the heavy black coverups – of face and mouth and breast and head and hands – reserved for the world’s women.

Now, the Syracuse University pool-drapers (see this post) will say the following: We love God, and we know that the right way to humble ourselves before our loved one is to hide from men, because above all God asks that we do not allow our female sexuality to tempt man to sin.

We can point out all we like that there’s no scriptural warrant for self-demeaning behavior whose roots lie above all, obviously, in fear – a fear of exposure and engagement and visibility that must be instilled in women at a very young age. Hijabs are something you put on your eight-year-old.

Its roots lie also in repression and self-hatred — from a young age you regard yourself as a vessel of sin that must be put away. Any stray hair may lead an innocent man to perdition. You must police your hoods and robes constantly, as do the Iranian morality police, for the slightest betrayal of your atrocious allure. It is hard to think of anything more purely, more deeply, more thoroughly, more malignantly, misogynistic.


Who can be surprised that Iran’s women have correctly identified the state’s “obsessive focus” on… the economy? education?… no – on the perverted and violent erasure of women – as intimately and unacceptably humiliating every single moment of their lives? Who can have failed to grasp the self-annihilating stupidity of a state that thinks tickling the dicks of morality boys is more important than statecraft? It was always a matter of time before the lascivious/homicidal energy against women implicit in Islamic Iran’s twisted founding principle destroyed enough women and girls to detonate a populace enraged by daily sexual degradation.

All of this makes the work of Western hijabis – who disseminate material like this to free women who might be persuadable to be unfree – much, much, harder. Good.

The West’s idiot fashion enthusiasm for the hijab is due for a takedown. Here’s one.

[P]eople in the West continued to regurgitate the Islamist propaganda, insisting to we who know better that wearing hijab is simply “an empowering choice.” … You continued to parade the hijab on the cover of your magazines and books as if it was nothing more than benign cultural dress…

You actively supported extremists who encouraged you to make child-size hijabs in the name of inclusion and diversity.

Endorsing hijab on children is endorsing child abuse and gender segregation. Those are not cultural values; those are toxic misogynist ideals.

Here’s another:

When I see non-Muslim western women donning a hijab in so-called solidarity with Muslim women, I wonder if they take into consideration the oppression of women in Iran. For many, the hijab has become an odd sort of feminist symbol, but they do not take into account that the majority of women in the Muslim world only wear a hijab when they are forced to do so.

Margaret Soltan, September 26, 2022 10:13AM
Posted in: end the erasure of women

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