Iranian Women’s Experience of Mandatory Hijab : A Case Study of a Campaign on Facebook

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för mediestudier

Abstract:

The current research is analyzing self-representation of Iranian women in Facebook relating tothe mandatory veil case study. Social media is assisting Iranian women to demonstrate theirprotest against mandatory hijab in various aspects. Iranian women are benefiting from theoutstanding features associated with social media, particularly Facebook, such as anonymity,publicity and freedom of speech. Therefore, this study’s target is to investigate and analyzeMandatory Veil Diaries campaign on the Woman=Man Facebook page. There are fifty-ninedigital diaries written by women in three different generations. The qualitative research isconducted through thematic analysis and along digital life writing discourse and sexualobjectification through a feminism perspective. In this case, study-based theories provided ageneral comprehension for the researcher to establish an in-depth analysis of the situation andexplanation of the role of women in Iran as a developing country. Digital life writing and digitalself is mainly focused on the analysis. Digital life writing, after almost three decades, hasprovided this opportunity to Iranian women to reflect a covert reality in Iranian society.Thematic analysis was performed by gathering data that was extracted from the previous steps.These diaries were then coded and themes were extracted. These themes were then utilized todecode how Iranian women represent their experiences on Facebook regarding mandatoryveiling, and how they narrated mandatory veil in different stages of their lives and if utilizingsocial media is influencing their digital diary writings. Finally, development of the coding andthemes accommodates the enhancement of the analysis credibility. The result of qualitativeresearch presents seven main themes that all participants have indicated: Obligation, activism,psychological and physical shame, religion, self-censorship, social life and patriarchal. Inaddition, Iranian women are victimized by objectification and the imposed role model of an idealwoman. The picture of an ideal woman represented in media, school, and university is a womanwho has a superior veil (chador), is a good wife, a good mother and a perfect Muslim. Also,Facebook as a medium has assisted this campaign with its features such as anonymity,minimized censorship, digital self creation, vent rage, blow off steam, and freedom of speech.

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