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Stealthy Protest and Freedom: Iranian Facebook Users and the Anti-Hijab Movement

Mon, May 25, 9:00 to 10:15, Caribe Hilton, Flamingo B


As social movements routinely turn online to facilitate membership and create a sense of collective identity, it is important to study how users contribute to this process through visual and narrative practices and other forms of digital content. This study explores how members contribute to a social movement through a Facebook group, centered on policy and societal changes for hijab-laws in Iran. Two Facebook groups, “Unveil Women’s Rights to Unveil” and “My Stealthy Freedom” encourage Iranian women to share photographs of themselves taking off their traditional and legally required head coverings as a form of collective protest. Using an analysis of text and visuals on the pages, this study explores how individuals understand themselves as a part of these collective movements through the notions of risk, locality, and narratives. This study offers contributions for those studying social movements, digital identity, and social media use under repressive cultural environments.