Hijab Propaganda in Afghanistan and Iran

Men are flies, women are candy: Hijab propaganda in Afghanistan and Iran

Thanks to Nushin Arbabzadah and Asra Nomani for collecting and translating these posters and billboards used to terrorize, shame and persuade women into wearing Hijab in Iran, Afghanistan and the region. Click here to read Nushin’s analysis of these campaigns. 

We hope they will inspire you to strive to create a world in which all women, no matter where they are, have a choice about how they dress and they are no longer blamed for their own oppression based on their outfits or shamed for not making the choices we want them to. Our clothing is one of the most personal parts of our identities and only we should make decisions about them. Instead of imprisonment, victim-blaming, threats of violence and rape, women need real options for without options there are no choices. Wearing or not wearing a hijab is so much more pleasant when one chooses.

Hijab propaganda Iran Afghanistan Iranian Government sexist

“Candy without cover is food for flies. No one likes eating the leftovers of flies.”

Allah raises your dignity through the hijab

When a strange man looks at a child girl, he respects her because he sees that the child is covered and thus respects herself?

Hijab Choice Freedom Equality

“I go through the wardrobe. Spring clothes, rain clothes, home clothes, party clothes. I get tired of so many shapes and colors. My eyes fall on you and I feel calm. That you are so simple means a world.”

Fix your Hijab- the eyes are watching

“Sister, choose your hijab carefully because from among a thousand eyes that see you, there might be just one pair that is impure.”

Hazrat Ali and Hijab

“His Holiness Ali said: You must wear thick clothing because if a person’s dress is light, her faith is also light.”

Safety and Hijab- Iranian propaganda Forced Hijab

“Our children are safer with hijab.”

Little Red Riding Hood Hijab

“Don’t put aside your hijab. So that you are safe from the wolves of the age who always stalk red riding hoods.”

Hijab is modesty

“Hijab means the bashfulness of a pure youth.”

Hijab and Beauty

“Hijab doesn’t make me ugly. It only protects me from contamination.”

Hijab comparisons

“Which half do you prefer? My dear sister, hijab not only protects beauty but it also protects bashfulness. Have mercy on your brothers and by being without the hijab, don’t cause trouble for their eyes. Hijab pleases God.”

Hijab is for angels

“Women with hijabs are angels.”

with Hejab, without Hijab

This “clever” one comes in Persian, Arabic and English.

Hejab and Divorce

“Today, you are tempting other women’s husbands. Tomorrow, your own husband will be tempted by lust. Today you are adding fuel to the lust of unmarried sons. Tomorrow, your son will end up a criminal. This game takes time. God is in no rush. God is very patient. He gives you ten more years. Otherwise, you wouldn’t trust that he is fair. So turn around until your turn comes. I will see your crying eyes by the door of the divorce court.”

Hijab Heaven and Hell

This one warns to “choose” wisely.

Hijab is your battlefield

“Wear the hijab, my sister, and have faith. You are the one who kills the enemy with our black chador and your faith. You hijab is your trench. From inside your hijab, you can see the enemy but the enemy cannot see you.”

Modesty and Hijab and safety

“The point of the chador is to distinguish between being covered and being rotten. “

No hijab makes you a commodity

“The tighter your clothes, the more superior? No. The more commodity you are. Do you know what they say about you behind your back? What a delicious piece of meat. They see you as meat, not as a human being. Believe it because this is the truth. “

Small grave for women without Hijab

“Girls would be better off if they thought about the tightness of the grave rather than pondering tight fitting jackets.”

Hijab propaganda Iran Afghanistan Iranian Government

“Have you ever seen an onion that is rotten? No. That’s because the onion is covered with seven layers of chador while the potato, with its thin cover, is always in danger of getting worms. Hence, sister, be an onion.”

There you go, ladies. Being a person worthy of respect -not based on her outfit, but her humanity- is totally overrated. Be a covered piece of candy or even better an onion.


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Daughters of Rabia is a collection of Afghan women's writings in defense of their human rights. The book was published by two Afghan activists, Noorjahan Akbar and Batul Muradi, in 2013. Following the book's success and distribution in six provinces in Afghanistan, Noorjahan Akbar created the Free Women Writers blog to continue publishing women's writings in Persian, Pashtu and Uzbeki. Since then, the blog has expanded to include hundreds of articles, poems, narratives, essays and paintings about gender equality, environmental concerns, economic inequality, democracy and other social justice issues. With a weekly readership of more than thirty thousand, the blog has reached tens of thousands of Afghans. This website is the English translation of these writings. Read the Persian book here: http://bit.ly/DaughtersofRabia