March 8th, 1979: Thousands of Iranian women march on the streets. They demonstrate against the Islamic law enforced by Ayatollah Khomeini, which makes the hijab compulsory overnight and strips women of all rights - including custody of their children in the event of divorce and even the right to travel without their husband's consent. Among the demonstrators are teachers, lawyers and housewives. But Islamic newspapers at the time described the demonstrators as a gathering of "a few hundred sluts."
With no alternative media in Iran in 1979, the movement is barely able to reach the public. With censorship and force, the Iranian regime can control the analog world.
But as the Internet spreads and the editorial society grows stronger, more and more Iranian citizens are escaping control. Through Instagram, Telegram, and other channels, they witness how their families live abroad. They see: Freedoms they can only dream of in Iran are simply a matter of daily life elsewhere.
I grew up in Iran. In my 28 years there I have only once seen a woman without a hijab on the streets of Tehran. I was told that she had psychological problems and could not adapt herself to the new Islamic rules. Alienated within the city, she was a reminder of the free time in Iran when women were allowed to let their hair fly in the wind.
Despite all the filtering, years later social media opened up a new world for me and all other Iranians. A world in which the slogan of the 2022 protests - "Women, Life, Freedom" - is not a rallying call, but its everyday standard.