It’s about time we followed up on Masih Alinejad, the daring Iranian journalist who bared her hair on Facebook and ignited a solidarity campaign under the slogan (and super trending hashtag) #StealthyFreedom.
When we first told you about Alinejad, she was enjoying the global popularity of her protest campaign and encouraging more and more of her female compatriots to post photos of themselves sans head covering.
The likes just kept on coming until finally, the inevitable smear campaign appeared.
As a result, Masih is forced to dodge false reports and allegations left and right. The accusations have come in quick succession: the first came at the end of May, less than two weeks after Alinejad’s campaign went viral, when an Iranian TV station alleged that she had been raped in front of her son by three men in London –under the influence of mind-altering drugs, no less.
Following that report, a popular presenter had called Alinejad a “whore” and said her campaign encouraged “younger women who are still not prostitutes” to adopt the profession.
In a June 4 op-ed in TIME magazine, Alinejad vehemently denied both allegations, warning that Iran was “scared” of women trying to assert their individuality, and would resort to any means necessary to fight them – such as declaring that men had a right to rape women without a hijab “because they were asking for it,” as one commentator at the Tasnim News Agency did.
But Alinejad, as you might have gathered, isn’t really the silent type. She then filmed a video of herself singing in a Tube station – no hijab in sight – and told every major Western media outlet that would listen that if only they had a choice, Iranians would “opt to move forward.” Forward from what, you ask? Well, perhaps a state that tacitly (or not so tacitly) assumes a women’s rights activist will end up gang-raped in the subway. On drugs.