Iran is currently one week into the country’s greatest unrest in a decade. What began with working class youths in Mashad protesting over economic turmoil has become more pointedly political, with citizens countrywide calling for the removal of president Hassan Rouhani, and other measures. Meanwhile, Iranian women have undertaken a more subtle form of protest against an everyday form of oppression: compulsory hijabs.
My Stealthy Freedom is a movement encouraging Iranian women to fight for freedom from hijabs, the head-obscuring garment women have had to wear since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Since Iranian journalist Masih Alineja founded the movement in 2014, women of Iran have engaged in acts of defiance with the way they wear their hijabs and their clothes in general–their collective statement taking on more resonance the more it has spread. The regime in power has since responded by harassing and occasionally arresting women for their impropriety, and with controversial initiatives such as last year’s ban on women riding bicycles.
Dutch photographer Marinka Masséus recently went to Iran to work on a photo project about My Stealthy Freedom. She emerged with a sprawling series of powerful portraits of Iranian women doffing their hijabs in various ways. Although most of their faces are obscured, which hopefully will protect them from being identified, the message is unmistakable: Change is coming.
“My Style Makes Me What I Am,” reads one woman’s T-shirt. It’s an appropriate rebuke to the idea that the law of the land makes them what they are. Have a look through a few of the photos from the series below.
[via Bored Panda]JB