Is it the work of a Paradigm Shift in Iran?

Controversy has arisen in the Iranian city of Isfahan; protesters are calling for justice for recent attacks on Iranian women, where men passing by on motorcycles tossed acid into their face. Arguably these attacks stemmed from women not wearing their hijab in the traditionally modest way. All of the women attacked were wearing their hijab with some of their head visibly exposed. A few Iranian government officials have shown their support of the victimized women, while members of Iran’s conservative judiciary have dismissed the claims made by protestors, not accepting these acts were carried out due to the immodest way the women were wearing their hijab. This protest seems to illustrate how the original model of how women should wear their hijab in a traditional way, is shifting to favor a new model.

Author Thomas Kuhn states that a paradigm shift is necessary to evolve or revolutionize an idea. As women in Isfahan are revamping the way they wear their hijab, a shift is occurring within their society. There is also a shift to revolutionize the idea that the judiciary in Isfahan is too conservative and not following the new ideas of the people. The protestors disbelieve their representative conservative judiciary will support the punishment of the male attackers, chanting, “it’s a lie” to promises of investigations by the judiciary. It seems that the original conservative idea of what the Islamic dress code should look like is no longer pleasing to some women in Isfahan, and this protest demonstrates that thousands of people are willing to support their right to safely wear a new style of hijab. It can be argued that these types of attacks and protests will undoubtedly continue to occur as Isfahan moves to change the particular conservative model within their society, but eventually the city may find itself modernized as a result. The evolution of all societies is inevitable as people around the world have a growing opportunity to see what people elsewhere are doing through the use of new technology.

As new generations of Iranians have increased access to media sources, they become privy to the evolving world around them. They too may become interested in changing the way they do things for themselves. It may be possible that the shift in traditional and religious clothing worn by the women in this story has arisen from the desire to express themselves in a new way. I think collectively women are influenced in this way, and in every city around the world women choose to change their style based on new trends. It seems natural that these Iranian women would like to make adjustments to the way they wear their hijab. While it is important to respect the religious meaning behind the hijab, it is also important for women to be safe in their moderate change of opinion. A community of people has gathered behind these women in support, and I believe their government and judiciary should do the same. There needs to be a way for religious edicts and society to advance in a complimentary way, to ensure no society is stuck in draconian times and religion is still respected. I think it is possible that one day women in Isfahan will safely be able to wear their hijab in a modern way, however, it will take a great deal of support from the rest of society to have this shift realized, the kind of support those peaceful protestors were showing is just what it will take.




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