Five teenagers in Tehran have reportedly voiced contrition after posting a dance video on International Women’s Day that went viral on social media.
The clip has inspired others across Iran – and abroad -- to post similar videos with the same song, in an act of defiance toward a theocracy that does not allow women and girls to dance in public.
On March 22, as Iranians are celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, a group of girls and women gathered around the Franco-Iranian artist Marjane Satrapi to perform the dance in front of the Iranian Embassy in Paris.
"Today in #Paris in front of Iranian Embassy for Norouz, for Ekbatan girls and for all the Iranians fighting for freedom! We will roll our butts until we poke their eyes out." Marjane Satrapi#JinJiyanAzadî #JinaMahsaAmini #مهسا_امینی #Mahsa_Amini pic.twitter.com/K1QPUmLb7k— Gianluca Costantini (@channeldraw) March 21, 2023
Satrapi said the video aimed to express support for the women-led protest movement that has shaken Iran since the September 2022 death of a 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. Amini had been arrested for allegedly wearing the mandatory headscarf improperly.
“The song is named ‘Calm Down’ but we certainly are not going to calm down. We’ll roll our butts until we poke their eyes out,” Satrapi said.
“This [Islamic] republic is based on a gender apartheid between men and woman. They kill us, they imprison us because of four hairs that would excite men,” the author and filmmaker added.
This is an ordinary scene in most cities around the world. But in #Iran, it's an act of defiance. Young #IranianWomen dancing in Ekbatan Town in west #Tehran #IranianRevolution #IranRevoIution2023 #InternationalWomensDay pic.twitter.com/g0pHrisWPe— Maziar Bahari (@maziarbahari) March 9, 2023
For more than four decades, women in Iran have been subjected to discriminatory treatment regarding employment, education, clothing and inheritance, among other things. All women must conceal their hair with a headscarf, or hijabs, while in public and wear loose fitting trousers under their coats. They have also been denied the right to divorce and seek custody of their children.