Masih Alinejad is a prominent Iranian journalist and activist who is currently in the news regarding some unfortunate circumstances. Last week, the Iranian TV personality Vahid Yaminpour reported a fake story that Alinejad was raped while on drugs in London, where she is living in exile, and subsequently called her a whore on his Facebook page.
This type of slander is despicable and some of the worst that Alinejad has had to endure. As an outspoken activist against the Iranian government, she understands that “they want to keep journalists silent.” However, she goes on to further explain that even though she’s been attacked many times in the past, “this was the most fabricated, most disgusting news about me.”
In the face of such adversity it is important to give support to Alinejad. She believes the reason for the fake report is in retaliation to a Facebook page she created last month which has garnered almost 500,000 likes. The page is called My Stealthy Freedom, and its main purpose is for Iranian women to post pictures of themselves in public without wearing the hijab.
Iran has a 35-year old law that forces women to wear the hijab. Many women protest this law because it denies them their freedom. Hundreds of women from Iran have written to Alinejad so their pictures can be posted on her Facebook page.
One woman sent a picture of her throwing her hijab while in the street with an accompanying text saying, “what I want is freedom of choice, not a meter of cloth! I’ll remove this piece of cloth! Look! I am still a human!”
Alinejad’s personal favorite photo is of women wearing the hijab but holding a sign that says, “I support and wear hijab but I am against compulsory hijab.” Although the page is mostly in Arabic, some of the pictures are truly moving and beautiful.
Alinejad sees the hijab as a form of control by hardliners in her country. They use it to remove any possible power or participation in society for women. Since Iranian media is controlled by the government, they have an easy time of shaping the citizens’ perceptions. Those in power want to keep women wearing the hijab.
Alinejad believes the fake report about her is an attempt to discredit her and her My Stealthy Freedom campaign. Her campaign challenges those in power and the status quo in Iran. Specifically, it challenges the hijab and promotes women’s rights to more freedom. As evident by her favorite photo on her page, its not that she is against the hijab itself, but what it represents: male domination over women.
– Eleni Marino