A woman walking along a busy street. A total stranger accosting her, insulting her, and threatening to get her arrested, all because of not “properly” observing her compulsory hijab. These scenes have become commonplace in Iran since the revolution that has imposed a compulsory dress code on women. But increasingly, women have been defying their harassers with a simple tool: Their cameras.
Lately, authorities in the Islamic Republic have intensified their witch-hunt against unveiled women or those that they deem to be “badly-veiled” in a bid to assert their fraying control over society. Countless videos coming Iran report on a spike in street harassment by authorities directed at women. Many of these women take enormous risks to film their harassers, some of whom are affiliated with the regime. That they’re willing to take such risks to film is testimony to how fed up they are with incessant government interference in their private lives.
Despite such a drive from authorities, they have admitted to their weakness in the face of rising tide of civil disobedience amongst Iranian women: the police clearly have a difficulty to police women’s hijab in Iran.
Iranian women have been resisting compulsory dress code ever since it became a law in the early years of the revolution. Such resistance has taken various forms. From starting to exchange chadors with ‘manteaux’, to challenging the government’s color restrictions by wearing bright colors, to challenging the Islamic interpretation of hijab’s forms and dark colors.