As American women celebrated Independence Day and freedom with parades, picnics, fireworks displays, and demands for free birth control, a handful of Iranian women bravely shed their hijabs and posted their pictures on Facebook along with messages about what freedom means to them. The Facebook page, My Stealthy Freedom, created in May by Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad, currently has over 550,000 likes and offers women the opportunity to anonymously share photos of themselves with their heads uncovered — an act of cultural and religious disobedience that could have serious repercussions in the repressive Iranian society governed by Islamic law.
One young woman, wearing a full black hijab, is shown standing next to the street at night with her head uncovered. She says, “Although people gave me blaming looks, the sweetness of that moment has remained unforgettable.”
Messages of support in Persian and English poured in from around the world: the United States, Denmark, Pakistan, Yemen, Canada, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium and Israel. One Iranian man simply said, “I’m sorry.”
Another young woman posed in a field with her headscarf billowing in the breeze.
Her message is inspiring:
Shiraz, my stealthy freedoms, and I
I’ll let the wind blow my burnt moments away. I don’t mind whatever comes next
Freedom is a right I am entitled to have in my life; and I will take it back!
God created freedom! human beings were the ones who created servitude
Hey freedom! All we’ve ever known about you has been just your name ! We have been robbed of you as long as the history
I am a girl from Shiraz. I’ll raise my hand and practice freedom. Freedom! I want you to know that this exhausted bird will go on searching for you and trying to attain you forever.
One man responded to her post:
“The rights [to religious freedom] are of the natural rights of mankind, and … if any act shall be … passed to repeal [an act granting those rights] or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right,” by Thomas Jefferson.
Support from Sweden, for your (Iranian women´s and men´s) right to freedom and all other true democratic rights!
Another woman flaunted her uncovered head on the side of a busy highway in front of what appears to be a billboard with the faces of Iranian mullahs.
I’ll say this simply, I want freedom. It is my right as a human being to be free. I want to shout out my freedom! Exactly in front of the billboard behind me!! I was pulled over one time while driving, because of “inappropriate dressing.” They towed away my car and called me to court. We are suffocating here under the ruling of this tyranny.
The young woman below normally hides beneath a head scarf. But on this day, her shocking pink tresses hung out the car window and she experienced the freedom of the breeze blowing through her hair, something most American women take for granted. She commented: “We have to respect each other instead of misjudging each other.” She added, “My hair, the blowing wind, and I… in city of Daar-Al-Ebadeh, Yazd.” Her smile of exhilaration speaks volumes about the simple joys of life that are not available to most Iranian women.