North Texas Daily

The Hijab: It is your own choice

The Hijab: It is your own choice

The Hijab: It is your own choice
March 31
13:30 2018

It started out as a typical morning in the streets of Tehran, Iran. People were running errands, and cars were weaving through the flow of traffic. Everyone was just going about their day, but something was off about this scene. Something bigger was about to happen, something that has not happened since 1979.

A woman, Vida Mohaved, in the middle of the crowd took off her white headscarf and her long, pitch black hair fell over her shoulders, free. She waved her scarf as a sign of peace.

It was beautiful, bold, controversial and yet simple.

How can removing a piece of clothing mean so many different things?

Vida Mohaved did not just take her hijab off, she took hundreds of years of tradition with it.

She did not know this single action would inspire other Muslim women to follow in her steps. As it turns out, she was not the only one who felt repressed by her government, as wearing these veils covering women’s heads and part of their necks and shoulders is required by the Iranian government.

About 29 women were arrested in the following days for protesting what I like to call a woman’s choice — a woman’s right to choose what she wants to wear.

But, is that what the protest is really about? No. It’s not just about styling differences or a law tied with religion, it’s about idealism.

I would say this protest against the hijab law was born just a few weeks ago, but I’d be omitting the 1979 revolution that created this law in the first place. Making a long story short, in the ’70s, Iran suffered from economic issues and sociopolitical oppression under the regime of Mohammad Reza, so men and women marched on the streets of Tehran for their freedom.

However, these were not the only reason why so many women were out there: the law requiring women to wear hijabs at all times when leaving their houses made numerous women want equality and justice.

Fast forward to 2018, we are having these protests once again. Many women felt empowered by this movement, including myself.

But here is the thing, not every Iranian woman is taking their veil off. This is equally as inspiring.

I was talking with an old friend from Saudi Arabia I met during my first semester at UNT. I mentioned these protests to her and asked her if she would ever take her hijab off like those women. She said, “It’s the kind of situation I cannot judge, but it’s my choice to leave it on because it means something different to me.”

This made me realize what impressed me was the fact these women stood up for making a personal choice. It wasn’t only because all those women bravely took off their hijabs despite what everyone would say — their families, their friends and the whole world. It was the fact they made the choice, and that choice in some way set them free. They stood for what they believed in, and that is damn impressive.

It is time for the world to give women everywhere the chance to decide what they want to be and, especially, what they want or don’t want to wear.

Featured Image: Illustration by Austin Banzon

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Oriana Valderrama

Oriana Valderrama

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