The scenes from the Mahsa Amini protests in Iran last year spilt an unsettling story about the life of Iranian women. They live under draconian rules and restrictions dictating how they’re supposed to lead their life. Even something as natural as singing and dancing can become a nightmare for women in Iran, who get detained or imprisoned for the same.
Here are 12 really basic things you’re not ‘allowed’ to do in Iran, especially if you’re a woman.
1. Women can’t sing in public. Not alone
Iranian women can’t sing or even play music in public. Apparently, a woman’s singing voice is construed as something erotic. They’re allowed to sing as a part of a group and among other women, but not solo.
2. No PDA
Imagine being tried for holding your partner’s hands. Or being unable to hug or kiss your beloved just cos it will be deemed as an ‘inappropriate behaviour.’
3. You can’t dance in a public place
Recently, a young couple got a 10.5-year prison sentence after a video of them dancing in front of Tehran’s Azadi tower emerged online. They were literally charged with ‘spreading corruption and public prostitution.’
4. You can’t enter in a relationship before marriage
Sex segregation in Iran discourages all sorts of gender mixing, especially between unmarried individuals. Pre-marital relationships are illegal in the country.
5. You can’t wear sleeveless shirts in Iran
Both women and men in Iran are forbidden to wear sleeveless clothing. BTW ladies, even if you’re going for a swim, you gotta keep in mind all the clothing restrictions.
6. Women can’t let the wind play with their hair. Their head MUST be covered by a headscarf in public places. AT ALL TIMES
It is mandatory for women to wear hijab headscarves in Iran. During the recent protests, women burning their headscarves and cutting their hair symbolized their assertion of freedom from decades of oppression.
7. You can’t ride a bicycle in Iran if you’re a woman
Because women riding bicycle in Iran sparks concerns of modesty.
8. Women can’t sit in the front rows of a bus
Women and children sit at the back of the bus, while men sit in the front.
9. Same-sex relationships are illegal in Iran. You can die for it
A significant part of the world still struggles to process something as natural as homosexuality. Unsurprisingly, Iran is also one of them. In fact, same-sex relationships are punishable by up to death. Last year, two gay men were executed over sodomy charges, after having spent 6 years on death row.
10. Forget drinking
You don’t get alcohol in Iran. Even as a tourist, you’re not allowed to carry it; alcohol is completely banned.
11. Women can’t travel alone abroad without the permission of their husbands or any other male guardian
Married women need their husband’s permission and single women need their male guardian’s consent to travel abroad.
12. Women can’t really watch sports in the stadium
An exception was made last year when a limited number of Iranian women were allowed to a stadium in Tehran to watch a football match. Over the decades, Iranian authorities have regularly prevented women from entering a stadium.
Basically, everyday common activities are an act of rebellion for Iranians, especially women.