Fox News’s Iranian-descended Lisa Daftari caused quite the stir last week after reporting on a video showing an Iranian woman dancing “joyously” – and hijab-lessly – on top of her car. The dance in the desert, wrote Daftari, was “the latest example of women defying the Islamic republic’s strict religious code.”
Daftari described the women’s actions as a dance of courage, daring to defy the restrictions of Iran’s Islamist regime, doing the forbidden and risking arrest, like the women who recently participated in the widely-celebrated – in the West, at least – StealthyFreedom campaign.
The story of the anonymous Iranian woman’s courage – and the “viral” video documenting it – was quickly picked up by Israeli and Indian news sites, as well as al-Arabiya and the British Daily Mail. But denouncing said news outlets for making “a buzz out of nothing,” France24 pointed out that not only was the video four years old, if not older, there was also no indication whatsoever that there was anything subversive about her dance.
Linking to the YouTube video, the news outlet noted that it was originally uploaded as an example of a “hot Persian girl dancing” rather than a woman defying the Iranian regime, probably without the woman’s permission. Moreover, it said, the incident took place amongst friends during a trip to the countryside, a more than likely setting for women – of any nationality – to let their hair (or head-covering) down, as it were.
Digging deeper, France24 found that the video actually hadn’t gone viral at all, and that there was really nothing that groundbreaking about it. While we are disappointed this isn’t the start of a new #StealthyFreedomDance campaign, the news channel’s closer look at the video is commendable, and will hopefully finally divert attention away from “buzzworthy” old news such as this and shine the spotlight on the very real ongoing struggles of Iranian woman activists.