Since the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, the country has prevented women from attending sporting events for men. The logic? Women should not hear fans swear, and must be protected from the “vulgar” atmosphere.
Some Iranian women, however, have worked out how to defy the diktat. Donning fake beards, wigs and men’s clothing, several female football fans disguised themselves as men on Friday to attend a major football match at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium. The women sneaked past security to watch the Persian Gulf Pro league match between their team Persepolis and Sepidrood – the former were crowned champions the same evening.
The fearless women then shared images and videos (above and below) of their bold conquest, which have since gone viral on social media.
While there is no official ban on women attending such games, they are refused entry and, in several cases, even punished or arrested for attending or even attempting to attend matches. In just March 2018, 35 women were detained for trying to watch a football match.
But this wasn’t the first time women disguised themselves as men to enter stadiums. One of the women in the group picture (above) pulled off the trick for the third time, reports BBC, using a different disguise and make-up every time. She also encouraged other women to do the same and offered to help them with the disguises.
“Why should I be scared?” BBC reported her telling a local Iranian newspaper. “We women do not commit any crimes by going to stadiums. The law has not defined women’s presence at stadiums as a crime.”
Another women said, “Our goal is to keep going until they allow all women to go. We are doing this to say to the authorities they if they don’t let us in, we will keep going nonetheless, with or without beards.”
Over the years Iranian women have shown similar defiance and campaigned for women to re-gain the right to attend sporting events. An Iranian reggae band called Abjeez, fronted by two sisters, recently released a song (video below) titled Stadium, which calls on Iranian men to support the campaign.
Shadi Amin, an Iranian women’s and LGBT rights activist, told Reuters, “[These women] are trying to break a lot of lines and taboos. For other people it is a small step, but for us it is a big step, because the cost of this action is not small. They risk being arrested.”