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#WhiteWednesday: We’ve Power By Weave, Linen, and Women

2022-12-09

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Personal)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2020/10/01

Women around the world have been increasingly vocal, alongside many men, and rightfully so, about the injustices facing their gender. Often, it comes tied to some theocratic leader or political ideology bent on suppression of the equal rights implementation for women. All the while giving airy, arid, and empty statements about the equality of women while lacking practical substance, pragmatic empirics, to show for all the bluster (and blunder).

#WhiteWednesday or White Wednesday is one such manner of public protest started by Masih Alinejad, who is also the founder of My Stealthy Freedom, which started as a form of protest as in May of 2017. My Stealthy Freedom began on May 5 of 2014. In this, #WhiteWednesday is a campaign and connected to My Stealthy Freedom as one of its outgrowths.

Its surface manifestation is in the presentation of white headscarves or white pieces of cloth as symbols of protest. The focus is international while originating within Iranian women’s culture because before the 1979 Islamic revolution; many Iranian women, in Iran so not necessarily in the wider diaspora, wore clothing in the Western style of the time.

However, with the imposition of Ayatollah Khomeini, as reported by the BBC in 2017, “Women were not only forced to cover their hair in line with a strict interpretation of Islamic law on modesty, but also to stop using make-up and to start wearing knee-length manteaus. More than 100,000 women and men took to the streets to protest against the law in 1979, and opposition to it has never gone away.”

Since May of 2014, women have been submitting photos and videos of defiance against the theocratic and rather patriarchal structures in Iran without the head coverings, women taking control of their individual lives, expressing solidarity in media to one another, and, in turn, inspiring other women too. Thus, #WhiteWednesday becomes a component of the overarching protest and spirit of My Stealthy Freedom. Both the brainchildren of Alinejad.

In 2017, Alinejad said, “When I expressed my concern about [one contributor’s] safety, she replied that she would rather jeopardise her job than continue living under this oppression that the Iranian women have endured for the last 38 years.”

It has affected the cultures of other countries too. Even in Afghanistan or other countries where it is not mandatory in accordance with the law to wear a headscarf, many women and girls can be forced to wear one within the family. As you can see, the main point is about the individual freedom of choice of the woman to wear the headscarf, or not, rather than the headscarf itself, which becomes an imposition either by law (theocratic, as far as I can tell) or by familial bond(age) bound to custom.

As the White Wednesday campaign continues as an extension of My Stealthy Freedom, we can support those efforts in solidarity, as the rights for some already won are merely starting to be won by others.

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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