#MenInHijab: Iranian men are covering their heads in solidarity with the women in their lives

#MenInHijabs has gone viral, following a call for men to support women's rights by Iranian journalist and activist Masih ...

#MenInHijabs has gone viral, following a call for men to support women's rights by Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad. Photo: Facebook

Men in Iran have taken to social media to post photos of themselves wearing hijabs, in a show of solidarity with their partners, daughters, nieces, and other women in their lives.

Using the hashtag #MenInHijab, men have spoken out against the country's oppressive 'morality laws', which, since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, have forced women to cover their hair in public or risk fines and imprisonment.

The hashtag instantly went viral, following a call to arms by prominent Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad.  

Alinejad, who currently lives in New York, launched the Facebook site My Stealthy Freedom in 2014, an online space empowering women to share photos of themselves not wearing the head covering in public. This week, she urged men to join in the movement - and the response has been overwhelming.


"Most of these men are living inside Iran and they have witnessed how their female relatives have been suffering at the hands of the morality police and humiliation of enforced hijab," Alinejad told The Independent.

"Many men have gotten used to seeing women in compulsory hijab every day and think that is normal. But for millions of Iranian women, this compulsory hijab is an insult to their dignity." 

"In our society, a woman's existence and identity is justified by a man's integrity, and in many cases the teachings of a religious authority or government officials influence a man's misguided sense of ownership over women. So I thought it would be fantastic to invite men to support women's rights," she said.

It's important to note that many Muslim women around the world personally choose to wear the hijab. The purpose of the viral movement, as Alinejad says, is to allow Iranian women a similar personal choice.

"I would like to let you know that I have never challenged women's right to dress the way they want to dress. My primary pre-occupation has always been to do my part in order to change or even cure the mental lapses of some men who have a problem with women's freedom of choice," read a post she shared on Facebook overnight.

The personal reflections in the countless submitted posts are quite powerful, with both men and women speaking emotionally about the injustices faced by their female friends and family. 

"My mother died and only her clothes are left for me as a keepsake," one guy wrote. "I sometimes put her clothes on and remember those hot summer days when she would go out shopping and when she returned, due to the heat, she didn't even have the energy to speak... I was against hijab and my father and brothers also felt the same way."

As one commenter among the thousands on the website put it: "It is positive and promising that women and men share such values and [have] come together in criticising this oppression."

You can see more pictures and posts on My Stealthy Freedom.