If you still haven’t figured out that wearing black chadors will save your worldly soul and that wearing lipstick and heels will get you sent to the hellfire, Iran’s “Cyber Group for Promoting Chastity and the Veil [Ifaf]” is here to clear that up for you. They are sponsored by the Iranian government and have a sleek website where you can view their posters, buy t-shirts, and brush up on hijab laws in Iran!
They have a new ad campaign for “good hijab” (because, you know, chastity really only has to do with women) that includes its centerpiece, “A woman without hijab is like a chair with three legs” (poster pictured on right). The ad campaign has several posters, which range from the strange and incomprehensible to the skeevy, yet well done. But their message is clear: women without hijab aren’t real, practicing Muslim women and are intellectually and spiritually incapable of measuring the dangers presented by their clothing choices.
“A woman without hijab is like a chair with three legs” is the most incomprehensible of the posters for me, both visually and textually. Why three legs? Because we as women are somehow incomplete without hijab? Lacking in a solid foundation? Because we can’t be used to sit on? Clothes can do all that? Really?
A second poster (pictured below left) shows a red stiletto on a platform that is being sawed through. Once the sawing is complete, the stiletto will undoubtedly plunge, along with its wearer, straight into the hellfire. By way of explanation, this poster simply says “Feminism” in two languages, most likely implying that the road to hell is paved with feminists! Also, are red stilettos feminist, then?
Another jewel in the collection is “Eyes are a trap of the devil. Imam Ali (A.S.)” Does it really refer to the hadith refers to the evil in impure glances, or that wearing colored aqua-colored contacts while looking at people is bad? As a big fan of lipstick, I was also pleased to find out that 22 lipsticks are sold in the world every second. But what I didn’t know is that lipsticks are also bombs that contribute to the fall of civilization with every little explosion. Interesting…that has never happened to any of my lipsticks.
The masterpiece of politico-religious symbolism, however, falls to two posters using the same texts:
These posters outline what the Islamic Republic wants: all women looking and dressing identically in the chador, as a uniform. As Sarah Khorshid Doost points out (in personal correspondence), these posters hijack the Green Movement slogan “we are uncountable,” which became popular after the election protests of last year. As the slogan is used in reference to unity, its use for such an exclusive and divisive means in this ad campaign is really disturbing. However, there is a history to this and many of the Green movement symbols being hijacked before (as with Ahmadinejad himself wearing a green shawl at his “victory speech” two days after the elections).