There is a something called, “Gashte Ershad” the government security officers who stop, arrest, and punish people for not wearing the right outfits according to the government. Normally in other countries, people get arrested for stealing or committing a crime but in Iran you could get arrested for not wearing the right clothes.
This may seem out of the ordinary for many young people around the world but it is a reality for the young people of Iran. According to rules in Iran, every woman from the age of 9 needs to cover her hair and her body. This means that every woman must have a scarf and a long coat to cover her body and her hair. I wished covering the hair and body would be enough but it is not. The kind of pants, the color of scarf, or the style of the shoes you wear could also be a reason for a young person to get arrested in Iran.
Here are some of the rules,
Don’t wear close fitting clothes
Don’t wear any bright colors like yellow and red. Normally black, brown and navy are OK. Don’t wear baggy pants
You can’t wear a jacket, unless it is worn over the long loose fitting coat
Even when it snows, a woman can’t wear a hat unless it is worn over her scarf
You can’t wear boots unless they are hidden under your loose fitting pants
I remember before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the president, he said he wouldn’t care about what people would wear. As soon as he became the president he didn’t fulfill his promise and young people kept getting arrested for the kind of clothes they were wearing. The religious authorities decide for what people can wear.
My cousin was recently arrested by the authorities, because her coat was not long enough and her pants were baggy style. She was thrown in a van along with so many other women who each had a supposedly violation of dressing inappropriately according to the Islamic rules. These individuals are given forms to fill out and the government authorities take their pictures as if they have committed a crime. Then the families are notified and some times fined.
If a young person gets arrested for the second time for violating the dress code, she or he could get expelled from school. You could no longer work for the government; you could face up to a month in jail or pay up $1000.00 in fines.
My friends and I like to look like any other teenager around the world, and wished we could wear the colors or the style of clothing we like. It seems unfair and cruel that our basic rights are taken away from us.