Iranian men in hijab

Masoud Golsorkhi in The Guardian:

ScreenHunter_02 Dec. 29 10.31 During the student's day demonstrations last week an Iranian student named Majid Tavakoli was arrested by the authorities after giving a rousing pro-democracy speech. The next day, government newspapers published photographs of him dressed in a full hijab – with chador and headscarves, as typically worn by more devout adherents to the Islamic dress code that is mandatory for women Iran. There is a dispute about the authenticity of the image; whether it was photoshopped or whether he was forced to wear women's clothes by his captors.

Either way the pictures were meant to humiliate Tavakoli, and by extension the green movement. The publication of such pictures has a specific meaning in the vernacular of Iranian politics, drawn from historic precedence. In July 1981, the then disgraced president, Banisadr, was alleged to have escaped from the country dressed as a woman. Whether true or not, he was certainly photographed on his arrival in Paris minus his signature moustache…

ScreenHunter_01 Dec. 29 10.29 Within hours of Tavakoli's photograph being published in the newspapers, hundreds of young Iranian men posted photographs of themselves dressed in headscarves, bed sheets and other forms of improvised hijab. This has spread online in chat rooms and websites and soon enough to the meetings of the opposition.

The message sent back to the men in charge in Iran is an invitation to wake up and smell the coffee. The contemporary opponents of the regime are not hampered by the symbolic language of oppression. They are taking ownership of it as a step towards dismantling the very architecture of the system of oppression.

More here.