If Iran's hardliners had their way, men would keep their hair cropped short and women's locks would be out of sight under tight veils. As a result, free-spirited young Iranians have decided to wear their curly locks Jimmy Hendrix-style, a move less innocuous than it would first appear…
Iranian authorities banned “un-Islamic haircuts” in July 2010 during the yearly Modesty and Veil festival. Ponytails, mullets and punk hairstyles were forbidden, in favour of classic short cuts, with a dab of hair gel at the very most.
Brutal police repression in the face of a recent popular uprising silenced most opposition in Iran. As a result, Iranians have found other, less overtly political, ways to express their opposition to the government. For example, a Facebook group of curly-haired Iranians has been established, where its members rally Iranians with similarly large hair dos to meet in Tehran’s Mellat park on January 21, is one example of playful subversion. 

“We can’t help it of our hair is curly!”

Mooferferi Mooferferiha participated in the curly hair gathering on January 21.
At first, the curly hair group was just a little seedling of an idea, but little by little, without warning, it became a beautiful tree. There are so many people who think curly hair isn’t pretty, and they do everything they can to straighten it. I felt like showing off curls in a different way, for them to become something we can be proud of. Our movement isn’t political: we’re just a bunch of people with curly hair who want to have a good time together. There were about 200 people at our meeting in Mellat parc, and our Facebook group now counts over 8,000 members.

"Police let us gather for about an hour, then asked us to leave"

I know hair cuts are very controlled in Iran, but it’s not the same thing in our case: we can’t help it if our hair is curly! We were just having a little fun, but authorities weren’t too happy about it. Police in the park let us gather for about an hour, then asked us to leave.

"It’s a way of changing the image the world has of Iranians"

Before the get-together, certain participants worried whether the girls who showed their locks beneath their veils would get into trouble, but we decided that shouldn’t stop us. There are very few events like this in Iran, but everyone needs a good laugh like this once in a while. The group is also a way to change the image the world has of Iranians, to show the people that we’re as capable to live peacefully and have fun as anywhere else in the world."
All photos posted on the "Curly Hair" Facebook group page.