In 2009, Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad posted the following photo of herself on her personal facebook page, captioned: "I bet a lot of women have such photos of their secret freedom- this is me on the way North."
Taken as is, the photo seems relatively normal; boring even.
But by posting this photo Alinejad was defying a strict Iranian law enacted in 1983 that requires women to wear hijaab while in public. The consequence for being caught breaking this law range from having to pay a fine to being imprisoned for up to two months. This was certainly not a normal selfie!
Alinejad continued to share photos of herself without hijab on her personal page and soon other Iranian women began sending her photos of themselves sans-hijab. In 2014 Alinejad created a public facebook page to share these photos entitled “My Stealthy Freedom”; click here to check it out. One women who shared the photo below seemed to speak for many when she stated: "I just want to have the right to CHOOSE! Maybe I would have even chosen to wear a scarf if I'd had options to choose from. But it hurts me so much when others make decisions for ME instead of myself. My photo is grey, just like my life."
So women in Iran are fighting for the right to remove their hijab, while some women in Europe are fighting for the right to wear it.
It is clear that there are differing views about this topic, and it is also clear that legislating the decision -- one way or another -- creates a system of oppression. Maybe we should stop trying to control what women wear, and let them decide for themselves?