Ever since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody, protests have broken out all over Iran.
Mahsa Amini was taken into police custody for allegedly wearing the hijab improperly. While some believe that she passed away due to being beaten and tortured, the police insist that she passed away due to pre-existing heart condition.
People from all over the world have come out in support of Iranian women demanding freedom. The protests of women seeking their freedom of choice to not wear the hijab is also portrayed as the women choosing to wear it as either being oppressed or on the government’s side.
Women who choose or want to wear the hijab are pushed into the category of oppressors in Iran while they are also just seeking the same thing, the ability to choose what they want to wear.
French Artists Show Solidarity
Over 50 artists including Marion Cotillard, Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert and others have come out in support of women protesting in Iran.
In a video going viral, Binoche cut off a chunk of her hair and then declared “For Freedom” while an Iranian version of the song Bella Caio played in the background. Several artists including Cotillard and others chopped off their hair to show support to the women protesting in Iran. It ended with an image of Marjane Satrapi, a French-Iranian director and artist.
A statement accompanying the video read “Since Mahsa’s death on September 16, the Iranian people, led by women, have been protesting at the risk of their lives. These people only hope for access to the most essential freedoms. These women, these men, are asking for our support.”
The whole initiative was first instigated by international human rights lawyer Richard Sedillot with cooperation from the top French barristers like Christiane Feral Schuhl and Julie Couturier.
While France supports women’s choice to take off their hijab in Iran, it is stopping women from choosing to wear the hijab in France and have even banned it. A face-covering veil in France could get one fined up to 150 Euros.
Angelina Jolie has also been raising awareness about the situation in Iran. She shared several pictures of the ongoing protests in the country and captioned them “Respect to the brave, defiant, fearless women of Iran.”
She also wrote “All those who have survived and resisted for decades, those taking to the streets today, and Mahsa Amini and all young Iranians like her.”
Iran has faced a long and tumultuous history of power and the role of women. After the British and the American regimes failed to control Iran, the 1979 revolution took place and the west’s dictatorship was replaced by an Islamic theocratic government.
While most articles point towards the ‘loss of Iran’ since then, they do not mention the rule of Raza Shah Pahlavi in the 1930s. Under his rule, women were banned from wearing hijab or ‘chador’. He deployed police to the streets to stop women and strip them if they wanted to cover themselves. This resulted in many women taking their lives.
Times may have changed but the struggle still remains the same. While freedom of choice is essential, it is important that the struggle of not being able to take off the hijab is not taken out on women who choose to wear it.