She is the founder of the grassroots movement “My Stealthy Freedom”, protesting Iran’s compulsory public #hijab#law for women and girls, a product of the 1979 Iranian revolution.
“My Stealthy Freedom” caused an uproar in Iran, with it’s opponents threatening Alinejad and ultimately forcing her to flee the country. Her activism even made her a target of a #kidnapping plot by Iran’s intelligence service. When finally revealed in 2021, the plot caused outrage within the International Federation of Journalists.
She recently took part in the World Economic Forum, discussing the recent wave of protests in Iran and what she calls the “gender apartheid”. Many women in Iran are imprisoned for lifting their veils in public or disagreeing with compulsory veiling. Masih uses her significant social media following to amplify the voices of such women in Iran and help them reach the international community.
In a tweet announcing her nomination, she stated “it’s important that the fight of Iranian women against gender apartheid is recognized. For a peaceful world, it is vital that our struggle against terrorist states is strengthened globally”.
Alinejad has also started several online movements against the compulsory hijab, the latest of which included the trending hashtag #letustalk that garnered support from hundreds of Iranian social media users.
However, as a Middle Eastern woman, Alinejad remains a frequent target of Islamophobic attacks, as well as she is often judged for the way of telling her story. This form of oppression is not as different from what she experienced in Iran as it seems, it is just a different side of the same coin – controlling women’s self-expression.
Freedom of choice means having agency over your own actions as a woman, without forcibly conform to the others’ expectation of what that ‘freedom’ should mean.