آزادی های یواشکی زنان در ایران means, I believe, ‘Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women’. We covered their Facebook campaign here Ostensibly, in a country where it is illegal for a woman not to have her head covered (in temperatures that sometimes reach 40C), some women are taking photos of themselves hijab-free and posting it on social media. The Washington Post’s coverage of the campaign is here. What shocks and surprises me about this blogging lark is that occasionally it takes twists and turns I could never have anticipated. Since our original post on the topic I’ve received two separate IMs from women who have determined to show their support. Let me caveat this post by saying it’s Second Life and I cannot verify that the correspondents are Muslim or even female, but I have no reason to doubt at least part of their authenticity, as their IP addresses match the locations they claim to be in. And, of course, as it’s SL, not wearing a hijab isn’t exactly an earth-shattering revelation. ‘I use SL’, writes one, ‘precisely because it does offer some freedoms that the society I live in don’t offer. I can walk by myself, without a male chaperone. I can show off my hair. I can do as I wish!’ Having checked our view-stats, I can see that of the Top 40 nations to view SLN, five may be considered to be Islamic countries where certain perceptions of women hold sway. But one of my correspondents rejects the notion that we should be quick to attach any linkage to religion. ‘Where I live it’s not about the religion, it’s about the culture. Of course, religious reasoning is sometimes applied to justify the culture, without there being any religious background for it.’ Being pixellated-naked was a step too far for our correspondents, both of whom read SLN regularly. ‘I don’t think that’s for me, even in Second Life, but I discovered your blog through some other website and I do look at it regularly, more for the idea that you provide coverage of the ways in which women are oppressed. While posing naked was a step too far, one readily agreed to pose, as she does daily in SL, without her head covering or leggings. ‘This is the thrill of Second Life. It’s ‘look! I have hair, I have legs!’. I can be someone else…no…I can be closer to the real me in SL than I can in RL. In a way, SL reflects the real me and RL reflects a false me. SL reaches out to people in a way that I think Linden Labs don’t even comprehend. Sadly it is expensive for me to buy all the clothes I want, and I am careful how I transact with credit card. Maybe, sometime, Linden Labs can address this matter. For now, my clothes are often free group gifts. But I can be free and happy in Second Life in ways I am not in real life!’.
Another correspondent freely posed without a hijab, in support of the ‘Stealthy Freedoms’ campaign.