Among other controversies, London Arabic contends that fresh Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has “treaded carefully” when it comes to the recent spate of police arresting women for immodest dress, in particular for “leggings.”
In Iran, they’re called “supports.” Some look exactly like yoga pants, others like denim capri pants or “pedal pushers.”
Either way, it goes without saying that some folks in Iran do not like this trend — in particular, Supreme Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei.
There is a sharp divide in some cases between government and religious responsibility, in this case, the religious police and their arrests fall beneath Khamenei.
In Iran, that can get you arrested by the religious police – because they consider leggings to be un-Islamic. It happened to [our freelance reporter] Emi: she was ordered to change her leggings immediately, or be taken to the station.
And there’s legal justification for that, from Aharq:
All Iranian women are expected to cover their bodies and hair, but not their faces. This practice was introduced by 1981, and for nearly two decades there was no legislation to prescribe it. In 1994, as part of a new provisional Islamic penal code, a few articles were ratified to give observing the hijab and moral code of conduct regarding clothing legal basis.
Of course there is some wiggle room. Women believe that because the pants follow “hijab,” covering all of their legs, that they should be free to wear them in public.
Yet, according to the conservatives in the highly conservative nation, these pants are simply too revealing. They’ve even started a Facebook page called “I hate leggings.”
Though the description says, “I do not hate leggings. I hate women wearing them in public.” Still the idea is clear.
Conservative websites have poured scorn on this latest “cultural onslaught” from the West. One warns against a “lustful atmosphere” infecting society. Leggings, it is said, have led to a “violation of the mental and physiological peace” of Iran’s youth. “Under these circumstances I do not think that even old men can maintain their moral health.” Another site calls on “revolutionary youths” to form groups to “cleanse neighbourhoods of such models.”
Women say they just want to do what other women in the world want to do. And though some men — the more conservative — refer to leggings as a plague, it’s pretty clear that some do not.
Just reference the competing Facebook page, “I love leggings,” which has 112,000 likes to the rival’s 3,000.