Iranian women at home and abroad cut their hair to protest Mahsa Amini’s death

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Standing before her bathroom mirror, Elnaz Rahimpour fluffed her curly hair before braiding the tendrils into four pieces.

She reached for the scissors and cut each dark lock with tears in her eyes, as an old Iranian resistance anthem streamed over the video she posted to Instagram — her own gesture of protest in solidarity with the movement that has coursed through Iran in the weeks since a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, died at a Tehran hospital after reportedly being brutalized by the country’s morality police.

Amid protests across Iran, many women in the country have adopted the political symbolism of cutting their hair — at once a statement against oppression and the rules of compulsory hijab for women, and an act of defiance in honor of Amini, who was arrested for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s modesty laws.

“So many others of my friends are still there dealing with this,” said Rahimpour, 29, a student at Marshall University in West Virginia. “I wanted to show how horrible it is to kill someone because of something as simple as hair…. Only because of her hair, Mahsa died. To me, it just felt like the right thing to do.”

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