Roxanne Varzi

“Denying women the right to wear a hijab is just as patriarchal and authoritarian as making them wear one,” noted Catherine Z. Sameh, an associate professor of gender and sexuality studies at the University of California, Irvine… Having that choice [to wear a hijab] is ultimately at the heart of the current movement in Iran, where most but not everyone is Muslim. “These are protests against compulsory hijab” — not hijab, Sameh stressed. Roxanne Varzi, Sameh’s colleague and a fellow Iranian American, concurred, pointing out that Iranian women who want to wear hijab are among those in the crowd calling out for the rights of their friends and relatives who don’t want to cover their hair. “They’re out there because of their need and desire to have a choice,” said Varzi, an anthropology professor at UC Irvine.

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