Iran’s Headscarf Politics

Iran’s Headscarf Politics

By Fatemeh Aman – Guest contributor | Nov 03, 2014

 

A still from the “Happy” video.

Iranian women have long been in a cat-and-mouse game with the interpretation and enforcement of many aspects of Islamic law, but most especially the hijab. Since 1983, when the first written law was passed, the Islamic Republic has made it officially mandatory for women to wear the headscarf and loose clothing, with punishment for failing to comply ranging from lashes to imprisonment. Even before the law was passed, just a few strands of hair outside the scarf would not be tolerated. Many women pushed that boundary during the tenure of reformist president Mohammad Khatami in the 1990s and early 2000s, partially showing hair and wearing Western-style clothing with the hijab.