Sadaf Taherian was banned from acting in her home country Iran after posting pictures on her social media sites without a hijab.
Words: Yeganeh Ameri, Subeditor: Jason John
Living in an Islamic country like Iran, it is compulsory for women to wear a hijab at all times in public. As for actresses, it’s a bigger issue as they’re featured more in the public eye. Sadaf’s Instagram page started off like other Iranian actresses’ page with photos that were mainly zoomed in on her face and showed very little of her hair.
However, it then leads to hijab-less photos which judging from the comments, did not sit well with her fans. One user calls her a porn star in her photo, others write even more inappropriate comments that are too profound to translate.
This out roar has led to the Islamic Iranian government to ban her from acting, in which case, has caused her to leave the country and continuing pursuing acting in Dubai. Her Instagram page has now transformed into a platform for her to publicise her interviews with newspapers such as The Independent.
In a sense, she is using her social media accounts as a form of campaign to speak out about this issue in Iranian cinema where actresses are suppressed by the government to sustain their Islamic image on all social media sites. Surely, the audiences who view the films are aware that the actresses don’t wear a hijab at home or at gatherings, just like everyone else, therefore, why are the same audiences leaving harsh comments? These comments have turned into a battle with many users arguing with each other on this matter. Not all are against Taherian’s bold move. Many, like the user below commented in Farsi “don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid we are in this together”*peace sign emoji* are supporting the actress’ act of bravery. The comment is also in a sense a cry for help from many women in Iran who are faced with these Islamic issues.
This could be the first step for many actresses in Iranian cinema to take a step forward and stand for their right to express themselves in any way that they wish on their social media accounts. However, with the strict regulations set in Iranian cinema from the government, it could lead to the majority of actresses to flee in the country and develop careers in other cinemas.