Women in Iran remove hijabs in public to protest country’s Islamic dress code
The protests, still small in number, are significant as a rare public sign that dissatisfaction with certain Islamic laws governing personal conduct may have reached a boiling point. Toronto Star
Good for these young Iranian females demanding more control over their everyday lives. Times change; I should know. I come from a time when Christianity ruled in North America, when women could not enter a church without a head covering (Catholics and Jews still require it).
In daily life they were never allowed to show their knees; ankle-length skirts were worn, and most of us in the late 50's wore girdles whether needed or not, so as not to be too curvy (provocative). Public high schools forbade girls to wear pants -- especially not jeans.
Not entirely irrelevant, and indicative of official resistance to modernity, is that students were not allowed to use ballpoint pens because good penmanship was considered extremely important and ballpoint pens caused sloppiness.
When my mother was a teenager in the early 30's, well-developed girls bound their breasts to keep them flat. Nowadays, it's the opposite extreme; large breasts are in, most bras are padded push-ups, and cleavage is deliberately on display.
When my parents got engaged in 1937 (see photo at left) black stockings downplayed the little bit of leg that could be seen below the long skirt. And note the de rigueur gloves.
It's actually quite a glamorous look, as is the attire of modern women in Iran (see photo at foot of page), but it should never be enforced either by stigma or decree.
By the mid fifties in Canada, skirts were still long, and hats were still demanded in church. I recall, also, that hats and gloves were expected for job interviews.
But religion itself was gradually being undermined by Hollywood and TV. Fewer people attended church and, within a decade or so, hemlines had zoomed in the opposite direction, with skirts becoming so short that we had to be very careful how we sat in a chair, or picked something up off the floor. Never bend over, always bend at the knee; always keep the knees together.
Is it any wonder that some countries want to curtail TV and Internet activities? Could at least some of the concern be for the protection of their women against sex assault?
After all, it's men who traditionally rule countries, and head up religions, so presumably, they know how men think.
Not that I'm condoning anything one way or another. What happens happens, and society needs to have the right to accept or refuse. Most people, however, either go along with the status quo or follow the latest fad, depending on which holds the greatest appeal. And the PR experts take full advantage of that sad facet of human nature.
But all choices in life incur consequences. Surely that's embroidered on a cushion somewhere.
In the case of Iran, it seems important to the media to leave the impression that the current western mood supporting "regime change" in that country is in order to "free the people" -- though it's really about US/Israeli designs on Iran's oil market -- so the actual focus of any internal protest is purposely omitted or glossed over in the news.
Iranians recently demonstrated quite effectively, however, that they do want the Ayatollah to remain as their "Supreme Leader" -- with certain modifications, naturally.
This is done in Canada all the time. When people gather in the streets to protest against one thing or another, it doesn't constitute an invitation to the US/Israel to bomb us into "regime change". There are much subtler ways for that to happen here.
It needs to be remembered that it wouldn't be the first time that "regime change" has been forced by the West upon Iran but, rather than improving life for the people, the US-installed Shah was hated so much that the people revolted virtually en masse, ousted the Shah, and brought back the more comfortable religious rule -- and nationalization of the oil supply.
Which is fine for older people who recall life under the Shah, but not always so fine for young people who are naturally rebellious anyway. And, of course, if they weren't, there might never be any progress in the world.
The restrictions on female attire in Iran are not meant to be oppressive; they are dictated by the religion of the country -- just as female modesty rules in "Christian" Canada were predicated on the teachings of St.Paul.
I don't have a clue from whence cometh the requirement for Orthodox Jewish women to cover their arms, legs and heads, but nobody equates that with a need for "regime change" in Israel.
And nobody should assume that any kind of protest in Iran invites it either.
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