This Ramadan, several campaigns encouraging women to wear, or correct their method of wearing hijab, have been launched. Two such campaigns–in Iran and Palestine–have sparked conversation amongst a subset of bloggers.
Campaigns encouraging women to wear hijab are nothing new; two years ago, Global Voices author Tarek Amr reported on one particular campaign that seemed to upset Egyptian bloggers.
If you still haven’t figured out that wearing black chadors will save your worldly soul and that wearing lipstick and heels will get you sent to the hellfire, Iran’s “Cyber Group for Promoting Chastity and the Veil [Ifaf]” is here to clear that up for you. They are sponsored by the Iranian government and have a sleek website where you can view their posters, buy t-shirts, and brush up on hijab laws in Iran!
Digging into the meat of the campaign, she continues, referring to the poster at left:
“A woman without hijab is like a chair with three legs” is the most incomprehensible of the posters for me, both visually and textually. Why three legs? Because we as women are somehow incomplete without hijab? Lacking in a solid foundation? Because we can’t be used to sit on? Clothes can do all that? Really?
The blogger concludes:
Muslim women have always had their Islam judged by their clothing and appearance. True, we live in scary times. However, the lot of Muslim women has hit a new low when people find it necessary to launch an expensive ad campaign to make sure we know exactly what we are supposed to wear. To drive the point home and blur the lines even more: ”Having little or no haya (shyness/modesty), is a sign of dark-mindedness, not intellectualism, is a sign of ignorance not civilization” So don’t forget, sisters, being a blushing Muslimah is critical to being smart and civilized. And you can’t have haya in heels and lipstick!
Reader Rochelle comments on the piece, saying:
I think this campaign demonstrates what I’ve been trying to articulate for a long time: that compulsory hijab IS a big deal in Iran. I think a lot of us get so fed up with the obsession over hijab in the west that we assume that Iranian women don’t care about it or it’s not as big of a deal on the ground in Iran as in western perceptions of Iran. But to that argument I respond by saying this: if the hijab isn’t a ‘big deal’, then why does the Iranian government spend a ridiculous amount of of money, energy, and human resources on enforcing mandatory hijab? Clearly there is something big at stake here.
In Palestine, the campaign is aimed at women who already wear hijab, but who are wearing it “incorrectly.” Lebanese blogger Rita Chemaly shares a photograph of one of the campaign posters, which she received from a friend in Palestine (at right)
The blogger comments:
it seems that this campaign is going in Palestinian streets.
in lebanon, we are used to see people wearing the veil in a more modern look.
even a more fashionable look.
according to this campaign, wearing sexy outfits with a headcover is not enough, and it is changing the meaning of the veil.
the veil is not intended for the hair, but it is a social identity, were fluid and large clothes are needed.
what is your opinion about this matter?