After six months of protests, Iranian women without headscarves has become the 'norm'
After six months of protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, our Observers say that "irreversible" changes have taken place in Iranian society. The most noticeable is the number of Iranian women who are daring to go out in public spaces with their hair uncovered. Although the morality police still patrol the streets, and it's still illegal in Iran for women to go out without a headscarf, the movement has spread across the country.
This week on The Observers, we heard from two women in Iran who agree that they will no longer wear a headscarf, "no matter what". From big cities to small towns, many women across Iran are making the same decision, after six months of massive protests have turned the tide in Iranian society.
Mahi (not her real name) is a 35-year-old woman living in Tehran:
I literally burnt my headscarves a few months ago. I never wear a headscarf anymore. I go out on the street, I go to cafés, even to banks, and I took a flight without wearing a headscarf. Until a month or two ago, men and other women would smile at me when I went for a walk in public and say encouraging words like "Well done" or "I am proud of you". Now I've been seeing for weeks that not wearing a headscarf has become the norm – people don't even see it as something special.
Even men who seem to be religious look away but say nothing. How this has changed so quickly is inconceivable to me. You get the feeling that society has put an invisible safety net around women without headscarves to keep them in the fight.
But the real battle with the Islamic Republic is still ahead of us. In a few weeks when it usually starts to get hot in Tehran, I don't see any reason to cover up like I used to. And I think many other women feel the same way, especially the younger generations. Even now, I sometimes see teenage girls walking down the street wearing crop tops, and when I imagine how these brave girls will dress in the summer, I already get excited.
Faranak (not her real name) travels home regularly to see her parents in a small town in Iran:
For months now, I have seen many women walking the streets in our town without headscarves and teenage girls chatting and laughing in the streets without hijabs. Not wearing the hijab as a sign of boldness or, at best, weirdness has turned into a political act, a sign of courage to stand up for one's rights.