The Iranian regime is notorious for aggressively banning behavior that is deemed “un-Islamic”; indeed, they have deployed thousands of special forces to enforce regulations on clothing and haircuts. The Iranian parliament recently proposed a bill that would outlaw dog ownership, on the grounds that it “poses a cultural problem, a blind imitation of the vulgar culture of the west,” and necklaces and “glamorous hairstyles” have been deemed similarly taboo for men.
I’ve heard a lot about Iran’s clothing regulations for women – namely that loose-fitting headscarves and shortened trousers are not tolerated, because they show skin – but it’s interesting to see that men are being subjected to similar strictures.
Last year, the Iranian government released a list of approved haircuts for men, in an attempt to stop the “decadent” haircuts (like, ironically, the mullet) that had been trickling in from the West. This was part of a larger effort to stop “the western cultural invasion” from destroying Iranian culture and Islamic values.
According to the Guardian, “women in particular are under more pressure because of the restriction on them to cover themselves from head to toe,” but men are also forbidden to wear shorts. Men are also not permitted to wear necklaces.
An anonymous Tehran resident was quoted in the Guardian as saying, “It’s not only about clamping down on clothing, but they are spreading panic and fear by sending out this much of police into the streets under the name of this plan, to control the society. It’s unbelievable to see a regime that is not only concerned about its own survival but it goes into your personal life and interferes in that.”
It’s important to note that these restrictions interfere far more with women’s choices than with men’s, but men are not wholly exempt from the Iranian government’s encroachments on its citizens’ agency.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.