Iranians mock government’s humiliation of women

Or that is how I interpret it.
In the news (from various sources, but I got triggered to say something about it by the post on Feminist Law Professors), the reaction to the arrest of Iranian student activist Majid Tavakoli. Apparently, the officials that arrested him made him wear a headscarf and published pictures of that in order to humiliate him. According to the commenter quoted on the Feminist Law Professor blog:

To humiliate him, the authorities published a picture of him wearing a woman’s headscarf, an old practice by the government to prove to the public that the  opposition leaders are “less than a man”, lacking courage and bravery.

But it had a wonderful reaction, namely that a lot of male sympathisers have posted pictures of themselves wearing a headscarf, as you can see (more here).


This can be interpreted in several ways, but I think it not only supports Tavakoli, but it also sends the message that there is no such thing as women being less than a man, and with that it ridicules the Iranian government more than it ridicules any man forced to dress up as a woman.

7 thoughts on “Iranians mock government’s humiliation of women

  1. This is great! The guy reminds me a little of Klinger in the old M*A*S*H TV series.

    What’s most encouraging is that the Iranian dissidents recognize that women’s concerns are an essential part of the program–not a side-issue, not something to deal with once the important business of the revolution is accomplished, etc. Compare this to the way in which women have been treated by much of the Left in the West–from the 1960s when “women’s position in the Movement was prone” to the embarrassing, puerile, sexist trashing of Hillary Clinton last year.

    What’s wrong with us–women as well as men? I now only deal with legions of center-rightish students who declare themselves “not feminists but…”; I know older women on the Left who declare themselves feminists but believe that racism, poverty and economic development in the Global South take precedence over “women’s issues”–as if women’s concerns were not only less important but dealing with them competed with addressing these other issues. In fact there’s empirical data to suggest that addressing women’s concerns not only doesn’t compete but promotes improvement in these other areas.

  2. I’m guessing that it is men being comfortable with who they are, so they are not scared of being ‘feminised’ . Gender is becoming less important and the ‘metro’ male is more acceptable these days. I love the response that has happened, with other men taking photos of themselves in headscarves. It makes the attempted humiliation a joke.

  3. Am I the only one who fears for the safety of these brave men? Their faces are now out there, and there are those who would find their actions extremely offensive…

  4. I considered it, j, and I just thougth that of all the stuff on the net, the iranian government wouldn’t have a big focus on feminist philosophers.

    What I really liked about this mockery is that instead of calling for a photoshop contest to show their president in a headscarf, they just dressed up themselves. If you browse through the pictures, you see some photoshopping of some high Iranian officials in headscarves, and for some obscure reason, a number of Obama’s, but basically, those guys just donned a headscarf, and with the exception of some didn’t even pretend to be a girl. Some exaggerate “girlish” behaviour, which kind of undermines the concept, but all in all. Wow, those guys really nailed it.

  5. I’d love to see these guys team up with Marjane Satrapi for a follow-up to Persepolis. Timeless, borderless, laugh-your-ass-off subversiveness.
    You go boys!

  6. I don’t understand why the Iranian government would try to humiliate women in the first place. Especially when Iran has the 2nd highest rate of men who undergo sex change operations in the world (behind Thailand). In fact, the Iranian government pays for the operation for those men who decide to undergo the operation. For Iran to have such a high number of men who have become women it really doesn’t make any sense to try and humiliate women.

Comments are closed.