As the world learns more about the protests sweeping Iran with calls of justice for Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died in the custody of Iranian morality police, more and more people are expressing their support for the cause. However, a video of French actors cutting locks of their hair in the name of solidarity was not well received due to their country’s harsh stance on Muslim women wanting to wear the hijab or niqab.
The protests in Iran are against the government forcing women to cover their heads and inflicting violence on them in cases where the arbitrary dress codes are broken. As an act of resistance, many Iranian women are chopping off their hair.
On Wednesday, Godzilla actor Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert and Marion Cotillard were among several French actors who shared a compilation video of them cutting locks of their hair in solidarity with women in Iran. Binoche dedicated the move to “freedom rights for Iranian women and men” in her post. The video opens with Binoche and the Persian rendition of Italian folk song ‘Bella Ciao’, an anthem for the anti-fascist resistance.
But the video, well intentioned as it may seem, received backlash from netizens who labelled it an act of “performative solidarity” and “white saviour outrage”.
A Palestinian activist took to Twitter and wrote, “French women doing this performative solidarity might as well go fight against their state’s racist oppression of Muslim women wanting to wear the hijab.” She called the women out for being shamelessly out of touch with reality.
The video didn’t put some people in the best of moods.
Another sarcastically thanked them for “cutting their split ends” for freedom, referring to how little hair they were cutting.
“How can you choose one and neglect other? Their [selective] feminism is problematic, Support both or none please,” argued a user.
However, we want to point out that Binoche, at least, has spoken up about the rights of Muslim women. In 2016, the actor urged Europe to accept refugees and to respect the right of Muslim women to wear the hijab.
This user called out the “white savior outrage”.
Another called their selective outrage the “whitest thing”.
This user, however, questioned why French women cutting a little bit of their hair is being equated with Iranian women “shaving their heads in protest of being killed.”
For this netizen, “nothing is more pretentious than French women cutting snippets of hair ‘in solidarity with Iranian women’ while they support their country’s ban on Muslim women practicing their religion” by wearing a hijab.
Amini, 22, was pronounced dead days after the notorious morality police detained the Iranian Kurd last month for allegedly breaching the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.
Anger flared at her funeral and spread to become the biggest wave of protests to rock Iran in almost three years, despite the reportedly violent backlash by security forces that have killed scores and seen hundreds arrested.
Twitter isn’t impressed with French actors’ ‘performative activism’ of cutting their hair in solidarity with Iranian women