Iran’s government requires that women cover their heads and bodies, encourages men to grow beards, and discourages men from wearing neckties. But Iran just increased its role as fashion police through a war against haircuts.

Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance banned ‘decadent’ men’s haircuts. Barber shops are now only authorized to give men a haircut from a short list of styles. Among the illegal haircuts are spiky, gelled hairdos, long hair, ponytails, and mullets.

This isn’t the first time the government has intervened and controlled barbershops. Recently, the Iranian police have raided shops offering western hairstyles. The police warn the shops not to continue offering these haircuts. Those offering illegal haircuts can be shut down, and individuals receiving the haircuts will get unflattering, short haircuts and large fines.

The legal hairstyles were unveiled at the Hijab and Chastity Festival. Jaleh Khodayar, the secretary of the festival, commented that the restriction of hairstyles will help to “confront the cultural assault by the West.”

Wait a second, we’re assaulting Iran because some of their men are keeping their hair long?

The hair of Iranians should belong to individuals and have no role in the political arena. This is just one more example of how Iran, under its current regime, likes to govern individual expression and prevent people from expressing their personality and their gender how they see fit.

The Iranian government should stop being so concerned with western culture assaulting Iran, and start being concerned with how their restrictions on individual expression are an assault to Iranian people.

Photo credit: szlea

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