In mid-summer of 2017, a social media campaign called White Wednesdays began sharing through Facebook a coordinated effort among Iranians to protest the compulsory hijab by wearing a white hijab on Wednesdays. In this way, women and men who were like-minded could recognize one another by the symbolic color. From there, it has progressed to women sharing photos without their hijabs and now even walking down the street hijab-free and sharing videos of their experiences.
Some women face having their cars confiscated or being detained or facing court fines, but the movement continues to gain traction.
White Wednesdays is an offshoot of the “My Steathy Freedom” Campaign formed three years ago to protest compulsory hijabs. A separate page on Facebook gives more information about this campaign:
We launched a campaign called “My Stealthy Freedom” to say NO to forced hijab.. Today we need to keep reminding all politicians and all female tourists who visit Iran of the compulsory hijab. We need a #hijabdeal because the hijab is a global issue when all women who visit Iran are forced to wear it.
While millions of women wear the veil as part of the World Hijab Day in solidarity with veiled women, it is not fair to ignore thoese women on this special day. Millions of women have been forced to wear the hijab from the age of seven—if they refused to wear the hijab, they would be deprived of an education. It is also about the time that we shouted “No Wall, No Ban” for women who are forced to wear the veil.
We are for freedom of choice and we find compulsion to be deplorable whether it is done to veil or unveil a woman.
Iconic Photo of Woman Freeing Herself of Hijab Becomes Symbol of Iran Protests
Six Iranians arrested for appearing in a video dancing to Pharrell Williams’ song Happy have been sentenced to up to one year in prison and 91 lashes, their lawyer says.
The sentences were suspended for three years, meaning they will not go to prison unless they reoffend, he adds.
The video shows three men and three unveiled women dancing on the streets and rooftops of Tehran. In six months, it has been viewed by over one million people on YouTube. The majority of people involved in the video were sentenced to six months in prison, with one member of the group given one year, lawyer Farshid Rofugaran was quoted by Iran Wire as saying.
Update: Woman in Photo May be Incarcerated: Iconic Photo of Woman Freeing Herself of Hijab Becomes Symbol of Iran Protests
The “Happy we are from Tehran” video was brought to the attention of the Iranian authorities in May, after receiving more than 150,000 views. Members of the group behind the video were subsequently arrested by Iranian police for violating Islamic laws of the country, which prohibit dancing with members of the opposite sex and women from appearing without a headscarf. They later appeared on state-run TV saying they were actors who had been tricked into make the Happy video for an audition.
The arrests drew condemnation from international rights groups and sparked a social media campaign calling for their release. Williams, whose song was nominated for an Oscar earlier this year, also protested at the arrests. “It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness,” he wrote on Facebook.