“Hair for Freedom” Movement in Iran: Interreligious Dialogue in Social Media Activism?

Celina Navarro, Luiz Peres-Neto

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Abstract

After the death of Masha Amini at the hands of the Iranian Morality Police for not wearing the hijab, in accordance with what they considered appropriate in September 2022, a social media campaign called “Hair for Freedom” was sparked on different platforms, with videos of women cutting their hair in protest over Iranian women’s rights and Amini’s death. This paper analyzes whether this digital feminist movement enacted an interreligious dialogue (IRD). Based on content analysis and topic modeling of the publications retrieved from three major platforms, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok, the results indicate that this was mainly a Western movement focused on women’s bodies as a political symbol in authoritarian Islamic regimes and has not achieved an IRD since most social media posts reproduced the hashtag #HairForFredom without opening a religious discussion. As observed in other digital movements, conclusions indicate that social media activism does not offer an opportunity to engage in dialogues to enlighten the public sphere. On the contrary, the focus appears to provide users with the opportunity to enhance their reputation by engaging in popular social media campaigns that promote social change.
Original languageEnglish
Article number602
Number of pages13
JournalReligions
Volume14
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2023

Keywords

  • Iran
  • Masha Amini
  • hair for freedom
  • interreligious dialogue
  • social media

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