Iran's Female Ninjutsu Warriors: Women Throw Away Hijab to Become Ninja Assassins
Iran's female Ninjutsu warriors throw away the hijab in this file picture. Many women in the country are dressing up like men to avoid the moral policeREUTERS/Caren Firouz

Women in Iran are hiding their identity to walk freely in the country's streets. They have resorted to cutting off their hair and dressing as men to avoid the moral police and the penalties they impose for not wearing a hijab.

Some women have recently shared their photos on Instagram and other social media sites challenging the hijab custom.

Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist and activist now based in New York, has also shared some of her photos on her My Stealthy Freedom Facebook page, which she launched as a campaign two years ago.

"Some girls in Iran would rather secretly dress as men to avoid the compulsory hijab and the morality police," she said, adding: "So that is why they make their hair short in order to look like a boy and dress like a boy. It shows that although the Government arrests women who post their photos without headscarves, women are not afraid and they are following their own lifestyle.

"The Government wants to create fear but women have found their own way to freely walk in the streets of Iran or drive without covering their heads. It is a serious cultural war between two lifestyles. For women, their hair is their identity and making it short to just avoid the morality police is really heartbreaking, but in a way, it is brave."

Recently, a woman politician was disqualified from the Iranian Parliament over photos showing her not wearing a headscarf. Eight models were also held for posting "vulgar" photos on social media, which showed them without a hijab.

However, like women, some men have also come forward against the hijab and other gender-specific laws in the country.

An Iranian sports journalist, Pejman Rahbar, recently shared a photo of a girl dressed like a man at a football match, beside a picture of a male coach.

According to a report in The Independent, Rahbar wrote in his post, "Abdollah Veysi trains a team in one of the least developed areas in Iran's Khuzestan province and he has managed to lead his team to championship through his tireless efforts.

"I am peeking at the tears of joy coming from this instructor as well as the determined-looking girl that I see, browsing through her phone.

"These two people are actually very akin to one another. The two are champions and have both celebrated their victory in their own way.

"These two different people have encouraged their team the same way and shown the same enthusiasm for their own victory. The efforts of the girl, who had hidden her gender by donning the colours of her team, were very much worth seeing though."