Air France propels debate over veil in Iran

By Zahra Alipour, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

After protests by Air France’s female flight attendants over having to wear the obligatory veil on Iranian soil, the company announced that it will no longer be mandatory for them to serve on flights to Iran. Meanwhile, this issue has reignited discussion in Iranian media and social networks.

Ever since the early days of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iranian women who oppose the veil have protested it in many ways. However, this matter has yet to become one of the main demands of women’s rights activists inside Iran. Indeed, it can perhaps be argued that the ideological, traditional and religious origins of the veil have made it difficult for women’s rights activists to fight it.

Nonetheless, considering that Iranian authorities have come up with a definition of mal-veiling, increased monitoring of the women’s dress code and passed new legislation involving “the veil and chastity,” the veil has spawned widespread debate among Iranian women. In the eyes of some, this debate is itself a form of resistance.

Media and social networks have facilitated the publicizing of this discussion, making it global. Women in Iran who oppose the mandatory veil now send pictures of themselves without it in public to the Facebook page My Stealthy Freedom, which has been widely covered by international media. Indeed, as soon as the news of the Air France flight attendants surfaced, the campaign further called on female tourists visiting Iran to also send pictures of themselves not wearing the mandatory veil.

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