Before the 1979 Revolution, Iran had mixed-gender schools, nightclubs and
dancing, and girlsabout- town who dressed as fashionably as their counterparts
Following the revolution, mixed-gender schools and night clubs
were banned, and the hijab became compulsory for any woman living in Iran or
visiting the country. Women have had to follow a very specific and restrictive
set of dress codes – an anklelength chador or complete headscarf plus long
overcoat are the only forms of dress accepted by the ruling
Summer temperatures regularly reach over 40ºC (104ºF) in Iran,
but women are not allowed to wear shorts or loose hijabs. Those accused of
wearing “western-style” clothes, as well as women whose headscarves fit too
loosely, or whose clothes fit too tightly, face humiliation, fines and arrest by
the socalled morality police.
For Iranian women, the feeling of wind
blowing in their hair is something they can only dream about since the Islamic
clergy came to power.
Actresses must wear veils even when portraying
indoor activities, such as sharing a meal or sleeping.
Well, you get this
Getting rid of the full veil is a way for Iranian
women to show their protest against the chains their government has imposed on
them. That is because the hijab has become, in effect, a symbol of the Islamic
Revolution. Rejecting it means rejecting the social and political restrictions
imposed by the government.
In the streets, Iranian girls stay just within
the law, while affirming no commitment to the values of the revolution.
Especially during the summer, they cross the regime’s red line on hijabs. As a
result, the hijabs get skimpier. To show a broad band of hair, scarves in vivid
colors are tilted back at flattering angles. The sleeves and hems of the
fashionable dress tunics (known as manteau) are cropped shorter in order to
expose wrists, forearms and legs. Blonde highlights, beehives, carefully coiffed
fringes, manicured nails, and narrow jeans that reveal body curves complete the
The combination of enforced hijab-wearing and gender
segregation is used to limit political freedom and possible civil protest inside
The government demands female students wear chador and
enter through gender-segregated doors.
The Islamic Republic’s authorities
enforced gender segregation in all Iranian primary and secondary schools
following the revolution of 1979, claiming that gender mixing “causes moral
corruption” and distracts students. Nonetheless, in universities, male and
female students attend class together, albeit in separate rows of chairs divided
NOW THE Ahmadinejad administration aims to enforce gender
segregation in universities as well by implementing gender ghettos inside the
Gender segregation in universities was first
suggested in 2009 by Hojatoleslam Nabiollah Fazlali, the representative of
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reportedly claiming that
mixed-gender universities have dangerous consequences, since placing male and
female students in the same class is like “putting meat in front of a
This suggestion was warmly supported by Iran’s higher education
minister, Kamran Daneshjoo, this year as he ordered a study to gauge the
feasibility of enforcing gender segregation when the academic year starts in
September. But on July 5, he retreated and postponed the gender-segregation
plan, fearing that it may cause massive protests inside the universities just
before parliamentary elections.
The Islamic regime’s policies on social
and civil rights in Iran are so oppressive that they have made Islam hateful to
many Iranians. Risking their very lives, some choose to convert to Christianity,
Baha’ism, and even atheism.
Despite all the threats and intimidation by
regime officials, streets in Tehran and Iran’s major cities are in the hands of
the Iranian people.
Millions of disgruntled Iranians, fed up with three
decades of brutal and arrogant religious rule, have revolted against the Islamic
regime. Rival factions in even the ruling strata have locked horns; the US and
the European Union have lined up against the regime, with more upcoming serious
sanctions on the agenda; and cracks are starting to show in the Iranian economy,
with rising poverty, 37 percent inflation, national currency devaluation and
widespread unemployment in a country where almost 70% of the population is under
On the one hand, the Islamic Republic is no longer what it was before
the 2009 presidential elections. Iranian people from the various classes, led by
women, university students and intellectuals, have risen against it. On the
other hand, the situation of the Islamic regime’s traditional allies, namely
Syria and Hezbollah, have become worse as a result of the Middle East
Yet despite this hostile domestic and foreign environment, the
Islamic regime still hangs on.
Even after the disputed presidential
elections, it has maintained its hold on power. The Iranian people are the only
force capable of ending this repressive and arrogant religious rule. They need
all the international support they can get.The writer is an Iranian-born
freelance journalist based in the Republic of Tajikistan