For the past month of September, the world has witnessed a massive uprising in women in the country Iran. These protests have been against the patriarchal authorities in the country which impose misogynistic laws upon half of the population inhabiting the country, women. These laws include the compulsion to wear certain types of clothing as well as the ways women should conduct themselves in public spaces. It is being said that these protests were due for a long time as they have been meddling with the lives and well-being of these women for all of their lives.
These protests have been dispersed to 50 cities in Iran. The protests include instances where women are burning up their hijabs to show their resistance. In such a nation where rebellion has been mostly unheard of, this is a surprising sight to witness.
The Start Of the Hijab Protest
This uprising sparked due to the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who was caught wearing her hijab inappropriately in public. Hijab is a headscarf that is compulsory for all women to wear by law. She was arrested by the morality police of the country and after a few hours, she was escorted out of the police station in an ambulance. It was claimed by the authorities that she suffered a heart attack while she was at the station. There was, however, proof that the 22-year-old had suffered multiple blows on the head. Other people who were present inside the station had also given testimony about the authorities beating up people inside. After three days in a coma, she passed away in the hospital. She was admitted to the hospital soon after her arrest, according to the officials.
The morality police, in its current incarnation, was founded 15 years ago and includes women. In white vans with green stripes, its employees police major city streets. Typically, persons who disobey the dress code are given a warning. A few people, including Amini, were detained because of wearing ‘poor hijabs’, according to the authorities.
Since President Ebrahim Raisi took office in 2021, the morality police’s activities have significantly risen. The accusation concerning Amini was that she was donning ‘tight pants’ and her hijab worn ‘improperly’. Many Iranians, particularly those objecting to the country’s current conservative administration, contested the 22-year-old’s death.
According to Tehran’s police commander, Hossein Rahimi, Amini had a number of pre-existing ailments, including epilepsy and diabetes. He angrily refuted the claims of abuse, calling them ‘absolutely false’. Amini’s parents, however, contended that she had no medical issues and claimed that the only plausible reason for her death was the abuse she faced by the authorities. According to her father, she had bruises on her legs.
Causes Of Anti-Hijab Protests
An Islamic republic governed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took over the government’s position in 1979. After the Islamic revolution, the nation was governed by stringent sharia law, which imposed severe limitations on women, particularly in relation to clothes. After 1979, this law was implemented in Iran, making it necessary for women to cover their hair and wear long, baggy clothing to hide their figures. All individuals who transgressed these standards are being publicly chastised, fined, and even arrested.
Many Iranians, particularly in metropolitan areas, have long despised the dress code. The police appointed for the job started to enforce the bad hijab laws on women who were not following dress codes in huge numbers. This was done in order to dissuade these women from exercising their autonomy.
In the past, women who objected to the dress code risked harsher punishment and possibly imprisonment. The morality police’s tactics and attempts to enforce the clothing code were the initial targets of the current demonstrations. The first massive protest rally by women after Amini’s killing took place in Tehran. It was reportedly the largest protest against the clothing code since the Islamic Republic was founded in 1979.
Over the past few years, there have been numerous protest outbursts in Iran, many of which were sparked by frustration with the country’s economic situation. The mandatory veil, however, which is at the core of Iran’s cleric-led state’s character, is being attacked with venom by the new wave. Many Iranian women, particularly those in large cities, have long engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with officials, with younger generations donning loose scarves and ensembles that defy strict dress standards.
The Outcomes Of The Anti-Hijab Protest
The killing of Mahsa Amini has caused nearly two weeks of widespread protest across Iran’s regions, bringing students, middle-class professionals, and working-class men and women to the streets. According to reports on Iranian official television, at least 41 police officers and demonstrators have died. According to an Associated Press count of official declarations from officials, at least 13 people were killed, and more than 1,400 demonstrators were jailed.
Even Iran’s largest news channel was compromised by demonstrators on Saturday, allowing them to broadcast their message to the entire nation. The slogan of the rallies, ‘woman, life, freedom’, had been combined into a song, a sample from which was broadcast along with pleas for viewers to ‘join us and rise up’. According to reports, 14 members of Iran’s security forces have also perished.
The ‘hijab protests’ have evolved from feminists’ fury at the oppressive morality police in their country to a broader manifestation of opposition and dissatisfaction with the Islamic Republic as a whole.
A young woman in Tehran who consistently took part in the capital city’s rallies over the last week claimed that the size of these protests was forced to be cut down because of the brute power and force the authorities have been using against them as a response.
Everyone’s right to freedom was impacted by the establishment of the Islamic Republic’s morality police, which enforced gender segregation in public. Similar to 1979, the places which have witnessed the most intense protests are schools as well as colleges. This time, however, the word is spreading to other major communities of society as well. Many people are upset about how the regime has handled the market in the face of international sanctions and the uncompromising government’s apparent inability to negotiate a compromise with Washington that could lower the severity of those restrictions.
Millions of Iranian women have taken to the streets in protest of the regressive hijab laws after the death. On social media, there has been extensive footage that shows Iranian women cutting off their hair and setting their hijabs afire to voice their dissent.
It is an extremely crucial time in history when countless brave women as well as men are risking their lives to make sure that there is no one else in the future who has to face such abuse. This courage must be admired, appreciated and supported throughout the world and it should inspire everyone to raise a voice against every wrong action.