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A photo on Masih's Facebook page: a woman standing proudly, face bare, hair blowing in the wind. Her crime: removing her veil, or hijab, which is compulsory for women in Iran. This is the self-portrait that sparked 'My Stealthy Freedom,' a social media campaign that went viral. Masih is a world-class journalist who grew up in a traditional village where her mother, a tailo A photo on Masih's Facebook page: a woman standing proudly, face bare, hair blowing in the wind. Her crime: removing her veil, or hijab, which is compulsory for women in Iran. This is the self-portrait that sparked 'My Stealthy Freedom,' a social media campaign that went viral. Masih is a world-class journalist who grew up in a traditional village where her mother, a tailor and respected figure in the community, was the exception to the rule in a culture where women reside in their husbands' shadows. As a teenager, Masih was arrested for political activism and was surprised to discover she was pregnant while in police custody. When she was released, she married quickly and followed her young husband to Tehran where she was later served divorce papers to the shame and embarrassment of her religiously conservative family. Masih spent nine years struggling to regain custody of her beloved only son and was forced into exile, leaving her homeland and her heritage. Following Donald Trump's notorious immigration ban, Masih found herself separated from her child, who lives abroad, once again.


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A photo on Masih's Facebook page: a woman standing proudly, face bare, hair blowing in the wind. Her crime: removing her veil, or hijab, which is compulsory for women in Iran. This is the self-portrait that sparked 'My Stealthy Freedom,' a social media campaign that went viral. Masih is a world-class journalist who grew up in a traditional village where her mother, a tailo A photo on Masih's Facebook page: a woman standing proudly, face bare, hair blowing in the wind. Her crime: removing her veil, or hijab, which is compulsory for women in Iran. This is the self-portrait that sparked 'My Stealthy Freedom,' a social media campaign that went viral. Masih is a world-class journalist who grew up in a traditional village where her mother, a tailor and respected figure in the community, was the exception to the rule in a culture where women reside in their husbands' shadows. As a teenager, Masih was arrested for political activism and was surprised to discover she was pregnant while in police custody. When she was released, she married quickly and followed her young husband to Tehran where she was later served divorce papers to the shame and embarrassment of her religiously conservative family. Masih spent nine years struggling to regain custody of her beloved only son and was forced into exile, leaving her homeland and her heritage. Following Donald Trump's notorious immigration ban, Masih found herself separated from her child, who lives abroad, once again.

30 review for The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenna

    "“The Iran government thinks I have too much hair, too much voice, and I am too much of a woman.” Picture yourself on a warm, sunny day. You are standing on a hill, gazing at a blue sky, watching soft, fluffy clouds drift by. You feel the sun warm your head, the breeze tousle your hair. It's one of the joys of summer. If you are a woman in Iran and some other countries, you do not have the right to enjoy this pleasure. You can only savour the memory of this from when you were a child. Masih A "“The Iran government thinks I have too much hair, too much voice, and I am too much of a woman.” Picture yourself on a warm, sunny day. You are standing on a hill, gazing at a blue sky, watching soft, fluffy clouds drift by. You feel the sun warm your head, the breeze tousle your hair. It's one of the joys of summer. If you are a woman in Iran and some other countries, you do not have the right to enjoy this pleasure. You can only savour the memory of this from when you were a child. Masih Alinejad is an Iranian woman who has fought back against the Islamic Republic, fought for the right to feel the wind in her hair. Fought for the right to choose for herself whether or not to cover her head. This is her story. The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran begins with Masih's childhood in a rural village in northern Iran. From a young age, she felt the injustice against females, wishing she could play freely like the boys did, wondering why she needed to be quiet and stay indoors when the boys could be free. In Iran today, females over the age of 7 are forced to wear the hijab when they go outside or are around males who are not their close relatives. In Masih's conservative family, the women even wore hijab to sleep. It was part of their identity... or rather, it hid part of their identity. As she writes, "Throughout my life I had been told that my virtue, my chastity, my self-worth, all were wrapped up in my head scarf..... If I went out bareheaded in public, then I was not a moral person." As a teenager, Masih was arrested and thrown in prison for being part of a small group that published a pamphlet speaking out against the Islamic Republic. As an adult, she was forced into exile when she refused to back down and continued speaking out. She has incurred the wrath of the Islamic Republic and will probably never be allowed to return to Iran, and yet she refuses to be silent. She speaks out in every way she can for the rights of women everywhere. The book is interesting and informative but could use a bit of editing because parts of it are repetitive. The book could perhaps be 100 pages shorter without taking away much in the way of content. This is a book that will interest anyone who cares about the rights of women in the Muslim world. Masih is a strong woman, a rebel, a fighter for all women but especially women in the Middle east where, as she says, "In the Islamic Republic, being born a woman is like having a disability." Women's rights are human rights and women should be treated equally everywhere on earth. "If you are a feminist, then you care about women's rights all over the world and not just where its safe."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Audiobook... read by Linda Henning... EXCELLENT voice & story!!!! Masih Alinejad stands for freedom of choice - basic human rights - and a leader for women’s rights in Iran. Iran has continually reasserted its national identity throughout the centuries. Today - modern Iran is still suppressing freedom for women. Masih grew up during the Islamic/ Iranian revolution. We get a very personal story about her as a child from an elite family to a rebel teenager - ( frightening and inspiring) - to the ver Audiobook... read by Linda Henning... EXCELLENT voice & story!!!! Masih Alinejad stands for freedom of choice - basic human rights - and a leader for women’s rights in Iran. Iran has continually reasserted its national identity throughout the centuries. Today - modern Iran is still suppressing freedom for women. Masih grew up during the Islamic/ Iranian revolution. We get a very personal story about her as a child from an elite family to a rebel teenager - ( frightening and inspiring) - to the very strong voice she became as an adult. ( also frightening for the safety of her life - to a genuine brave heroine)... Masih grew up in a small village in Iran.. later became a journalist. She became well known for her online protest against compulsory head scarf: hijab. Masih clearly remembers her parents beliefs when she was a small child. Her dad, like many others in the country was very ‘pro’ revolution. He said - he’d rather give up his money - his freedom- his ‘life’ to support the revolution. With the fall of the Shah, and Ayatullah Khamenei as the country’s ‘supreme leader’...( a man who thought democracy was like prostitution), promised Iranians that no one should remain homeless - that everyone would have free telephone, electricity, heating, bus services, and free oil at their doorstop. Under Khamenei’s rule came the new required dress code. Women were required to cover their hair - at all times - even to bed each night. In the beginning Khamenei had many supporters.... Opponents were warned that if they tried to bring corruption and destruction to their country in the name of democracy, they would be oppressed. As more and more opponents stepped forward- becoming clear that human rights were demolished- horrific political turmoil - riots - protests - and deaths - were happening— the only possibility for freedom... especially for women was banning the Islamic culture. Masih stepped forward- spent time in jail... She now lives in New York, living in exile. The Audiobook is completely engaging. Even for those who are well- read on the political history of Iran...Mashid’s story is ‘gripping’. From an adorable’ wild child - wanting to do everything her brothers did ( knew she wasn’t allowed)... to a marriage & pregnancy- to her ongoing voice that oppression is a disgrace, and unacceptable..... this book was addicting - very personal - informative - and definitely worth listening to or reading. I was lucky enough to have been in Iran just 2 years before the revolution.... in better years of freedom. I often thought - what would have happened to me had I been in Iran during the peek of the revolution- I could have been thrown in jail myself. I have several Iranian friends who live near me. Two are lawyers also fighting for women’s rights in Iran. The fight continues - and Masid Alinejad continues to help thousands of women A resilient woman! She also has a personality that’s contagious to enjoy!!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ashton

    I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from the publisher, however, my opinions are my own! The most spellbinding book I have read all year!!! I have spent a lot of time in Middle Eastern countries. First in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait (the war), and then later Doha, and the Emirates for vacation. I've found the region to be complex, confusing, and captivating. There is something distinctly forlorn and romantic about the wind-swept deserts, and sparse vegetation. And of course, the I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from the publisher, however, my opinions are my own! The most spellbinding book I have read all year!!! I have spent a lot of time in Middle Eastern countries. First in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait (the war), and then later Doha, and the Emirates for vacation. I've found the region to be complex, confusing, and captivating. There is something distinctly forlorn and romantic about the wind-swept deserts, and sparse vegetation. And of course, the culture itself is fascinating. I've always felt like an outsider, looking in on customs and ideals I can only grasp the edges of. Once while in Dubai at an outdoor restaurant, my ex and I watched a girl walk by in an abaya (the black robe worn by Muslim women), but hers was open in the front, and tied with a belt. She was wearing bright clothing beneath it, that matched the jeweled patterns sewn into the hood and hem. She wore the hood almost off of her head, and her hair was just stunning. Piled up, with jeweled clips, and curls. I stared. I'd never seen anyone like that, and I didn't understand exactly what statement she was making. Independence, obviously, but it couldn't have been just that, because then she would have just taken the abaya off. Her choice was so distinctive. Meticulous. And she walked with her head up, and with purpose in her stride, while she confidently flirted with the young man beside her. I was fascinated. I wanted to catch up to her and ask, about everything. Or at least find out her name. I still wonder to this day if I should have, but then maybe her memory wouldn't haunt me so all these years later. Maybe the mystery and intensity would have long since faded. I still don't exactly understand those few brief seconds. The purpose. The victory. The energy. I wanted to jump up and cheer, but I had no idea exactly why. The moment was hers, whatever it was, and I only caught a glimpse of it. But haunt me it has, for all eight years since it happened. A piece of someone else's fight, someone else's war, someone else's victory--that I've never gotten out of my head. And though I suppose this review is much too long, and much too scattered, this is the part where I'd like to say that this book was exactly like that moment, but not from the outside this time. It was a window, into the same war that connects all of them, and unites all women. The war that I have longed to understand and support, but so rarely catch more than glimpses of. This was the most spellbinding book I have read all year. I have read it twice now, and I am already on my third. Yes, it is that good. Fascinating. Riveting. I couldn't put it down on my first read, and began my second as soon as the first was finished. It was passionate, and it made me angry, and I also wanted to cheer. So many emotions as I've read it. Their fight isn't mine. And yet...it is. Isn't it? As women we can't turn a blind eye. We can't bury our heads in the sand. A war for one is a war for us all, and only united will we be capable of winning it. However, with that being said, this isn't a book only for women. My husband is already nagging at me to hurry up with my third read so he can get his chance, and I know it will affect him every bit as deeply as it did me. It is a beautiful book, not just for the content, but for the skill of the author as well. So talented, and so much raw emotion. I would also like to mention that for anyone who loved the Princess books by "Jean Sasson", this book will be an amazing addition to the library. I do recommend it. I recommend it to literally everyone!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Masih’s life story from her rural home in North of Iran to New York, the city that never sleeps. Her journey from the troublemaker child to troublemaker women’s advocate. I always wonder at the women who live under the circumstances that we do and yet don’t turn feminists. Maybe this book could show them a little on resilience.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    From BBC radio 4 - Book of the week: Masih Alinejad is a journalist and activist from a small village in Iran. In 2014 she sparked a social media movement when she posted a picture of her curly hair blowing in the wind without her veil or hijab. Across Iran, women started sharing pictures of their uncovered hair on Masih's Facebook page in open defiance of the strict religious beliefs of their country - and often, their families. With the creation of My Stealthy Freedom Masih gained over one milli From BBC radio 4 - Book of the week: Masih Alinejad is a journalist and activist from a small village in Iran. In 2014 she sparked a social media movement when she posted a picture of her curly hair blowing in the wind without her veil or hijab. Across Iran, women started sharing pictures of their uncovered hair on Masih's Facebook page in open defiance of the strict religious beliefs of their country - and often, their families. With the creation of My Stealthy Freedom Masih gained over one million supporters and inspired women everywhere to take a stand against the compulsory wearing of the hijab. But behind the scenes of this movement, Masih has been fighting a painful personal battle. She is a divorcee - a sin equivalent to prostitution in Iranian culture. As a political reporter, Masih has been actively speaking out against the government's corrupt policies for more than a decade and this has led to her expulsion from Iran and separation from her son. In this first episode of her memoir, she remembers her childhood in a village in Iran and how, although only a child, she began to rebel against the standards of behaviour that she and other girls were expected to follow. Read by Nathalie Armin Abridged by Elizabeth Burke Produced by Alexandra Quinn A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b5...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    After getting placed in a taxi by the morality police that just assaulted her as she walked home with her friend... The taxi driver said, "Please, ladies, fix your head scarves. I need you to respect the hijab laws. We had just been brutally assaulted, and this driver's only concern was about our loose head scarves. We meekly obeyed him as we cried quietly in the backseat. Perhaps he thought we really were call girls. But there is something wrong with a country where people are more concerned ab After getting placed in a taxi by the morality police that just assaulted her as she walked home with her friend... The taxi driver said, "Please, ladies, fix your head scarves. I need you to respect the hijab laws. We had just been brutally assaulted, and this driver's only concern was about our loose head scarves. We meekly obeyed him as we cried quietly in the backseat. Perhaps he thought we really were call girls. But there is something wrong with a country where people are more concerned about a few loose strands of hair than a brutal assault on defenseless citizens." Really good book, unfortunately the fight continues for women the world over to have a say in what they wear and how they govern their own bodies. What we achieved in this country up to a year ago has begun to slide backwards as we too lose our rights to dress ourselves and govern our own bodies. The archaic dress codes for girls all across the nation are teaching our young that "boys" can't control themselves if they see a collarbone. The ERA may need another vote, but the "old boys" network that we have all bought into will still be around, just as "Jim Crow" has continued to flourish and now blossom in our nation.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    I received this book as an advanced reader's copy as well and the story Masih has told through this book is inspiring on all levels. Masih tells the story of her family and its involvement in crime and how she broke free and started a brand-new life. I requested this book because patrons at my library are looking for more inspirational stories and with a good diverse patron population over 50% Muslim, our patrons can closely relate to Masih and the story she has to tell. A well-rounded book that I received this book as an advanced reader's copy as well and the story Masih has told through this book is inspiring on all levels. Masih tells the story of her family and its involvement in crime and how she broke free and started a brand-new life. I requested this book because patrons at my library are looking for more inspirational stories and with a good diverse patron population over 50% Muslim, our patrons can closely relate to Masih and the story she has to tell. A well-rounded book that EVERYONE should read. 5 stars!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Yalman Onaran

    What a powerful story of a woman who wouldn’t bow to her country’s non-stop pressure to silence her! Although I’ve known and felt terrible for the oppression of women in Iran for decades, this book jolted me once again to the harsh reality and the injustice. And it gave me hope, once again, that change can come for this wonderfully rich culture of people one day.

  9. 4 out of 5

    zo.ah

    I was really eager to read this book and when I finally bought it I didn’t want to finish reading it. Loved every bit if it. Masih’s autobiography really captivated me and taught me so much. I could relate to Masih’s anger towards the compulsory hijab law as I am myself a citizen of a country (Afghanistan) where hijab is a vital part of the society even though there is no compulsory hijab law as such like there is in Iran (Pheww! Thank God !) but still 90% of women and girls wear it as it have b I was really eager to read this book and when I finally bought it I didn’t want to finish reading it. Loved every bit if it. Masih’s autobiography really captivated me and taught me so much. I could relate to Masih’s anger towards the compulsory hijab law as I am myself a citizen of a country (Afghanistan) where hijab is a vital part of the society even though there is no compulsory hijab law as such like there is in Iran (Pheww! Thank God !) but still 90% of women and girls wear it as it have become a norm in last few decades.I grew up in another country and whenever I go back to Afghanistan and visit public places I wear it and I really detest it. No offence to women wearing hijab, I get it why they wear it as I myself have friends and relatives who wear it but still it’s like as soon as you enter Afghanistan you grow a third boob on your head which you need to cover it up because people keep staring at you if you don’t. I really don’t get it what is up with the society...Women also have hair on their head just like men there is nothing else... no third boob or a second vagina which they need to cover up. Enough of venting now, now getting back to the book review.. It was amazing and I support her My stealthy Freedom Campaign and I really hope that one day women in Iran,Afghanistan and all over the world will finally have the right to choose and to dress up as they want whether they want to wear a hijab, dress or a short skirt etc without being harassed and judged by society.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Yasmin Moghadamnia

    Powerful story. Couple facts before I write my review about this book: I was raised in the same small town that Masih is from. I know her campaign and I know all the feelings she describes, about being a girl in Iran. I don’t always agree with her but I admire her courage. I think the book started off as an exciting story, and the more we got closer to her adulthood the less exciting the story became. Towards the very end I mostly felt like she is defending all her choices to the people who have at Powerful story. Couple facts before I write my review about this book: I was raised in the same small town that Masih is from. I know her campaign and I know all the feelings she describes, about being a girl in Iran. I don’t always agree with her but I admire her courage. I think the book started off as an exciting story, and the more we got closer to her adulthood the less exciting the story became. Towards the very end I mostly felt like she is defending all her choices to the people who have attacked her, or just trying to list all her achievements , which is probably why she wrote this book, but I preferred the theme of the first part. I read this book immediately after I finished Michelle Obama’s “becoming “, and I was touched by it. She has tried so hard in the world to achieve what she thinks is right. This book is a first in the genre.

  11. 4 out of 5

    LeeAnn

    Really love her personality. Fierce bravery in journalism. She lays out in detail a section of the most critical 30 years in recent Iranian history very well.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Aygün Ismayilova

    I have enjoyed every page of Masih’s memoirs. She is a voice of millions of Iranian women who rightfully demand a freedom of choice.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Excellent book. The author has a beautiful straightforward writing style and knows how to tell a story. Her struggle to oppose mandatory hijab in Iran, and what she had to suffer as a consequence was beautifully laid out in the book. It is a story of an extraordinary woman who has had to sacrifice a lot to stand up for women's dignity. I admire Ms. Alinejad very much and have followed her groundbreaking movement My Stealthy Freedom. After reading her book, my respect for her has increased manifo Excellent book. The author has a beautiful straightforward writing style and knows how to tell a story. Her struggle to oppose mandatory hijab in Iran, and what she had to suffer as a consequence was beautifully laid out in the book. It is a story of an extraordinary woman who has had to sacrifice a lot to stand up for women's dignity. I admire Ms. Alinejad very much and have followed her groundbreaking movement My Stealthy Freedom. After reading her book, my respect for her has increased manifold. If you want a story about a courageous person who struggles against an oppressive regime, this is an excellent read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Willa

    This is my first 5 star review. Incredible book! Masih Alinejad's strength and power are amazing. I've gone through life busy with my day-to-day and the problems I deal with at work and home. I've not paid nearly as much attention to the rest of the world. Ms Alinejad has given me a history lesson and a lesson in freedoms, I as an American simply take for granted. Much of what she says about Iran frightens me as I'm beginning to see our freedoms here, while not exactly being taken away, at least This is my first 5 star review. Incredible book! Masih Alinejad's strength and power are amazing. I've gone through life busy with my day-to-day and the problems I deal with at work and home. I've not paid nearly as much attention to the rest of the world. Ms Alinejad has given me a history lesson and a lesson in freedoms, I as an American simply take for granted. Much of what she says about Iran frightens me as I'm beginning to see our freedoms here, while not exactly being taken away, at least highly criticized in the past couple of years by the very ones who should be protecting them. This is the best Goodreads wins ever!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Atefeh Eghbali

    I appreciate what Masih Alinejad is doing so with my positive background my review may not be the best to take judgement from. About the book, what I liked the most was description the periods which I had memory of myself. Not to spoil much, she goes through the political events in Iran mainly which can be interesting for a non-Iranian. However in general I would have expected this book to be published in farsi first. Overall, interesting book as it is actual life of a human-being :)

  16. 4 out of 5

    JoJo

    How I ope never to have to live in a culture that treats women so poorly, but I am grateful for the telling of the author's story and how she overcame the prejudices. I felt immersed in land, politica and life so well described.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    I received this book from the Goodreads giveaway program. A wonderfully written book. Very interesting. I wish the author would have said a bit more about her life in the United States.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Georgia Herod

    I don't give five stars easily and when I do, the word "amazing" keeps running through my mind. Is it the story that is amazing (and not necessarily the writing) or the person in the story? In this case, I do think it is Masih Alinejad, a young woman from Ghomikola, a rural village in Iran, from a very strict Islamic family. She shares her "fight for freedom in modern Iran," beginning with her strongmindedness at an early age growing into outright rebelliousness, and then eventually becoming an I don't give five stars easily and when I do, the word "amazing" keeps running through my mind. Is it the story that is amazing (and not necessarily the writing) or the person in the story? In this case, I do think it is Masih Alinejad, a young woman from Ghomikola, a rural village in Iran, from a very strict Islamic family. She shares her "fight for freedom in modern Iran," beginning with her strongmindedness at an early age growing into outright rebelliousness, and then eventually becoming an activist for women's rights, particularly in their freedom to choose whether or not to cover their heads by wearing a hijab. In sharing her story, which includes imprisonment and physical abuse, readers learn much about the Islamic Republic and Islamic customs and culture. Though Alinejad had no formal training in journalism, she became a journalist, giving voice to women and those who were opposing national leadership. She becomes a fugitive and must leave Iran--but she doesn't stop her writing. After making contact with Sheryl Sandberg, she goes to Menlo Park, CA, to Facebook headquarters. The Islamic Republic views Facebook as a "tool of regime changers, spies, and other deviant characters" (344). What she encountered was a complete surprise: bright, intelligent, creative young people. Sandberg tells her, "You are one of my personal heroes because you have managed through your page to create a platform for Iranian women--for their voices to be heard and for the rest of us, the people around the world to get a chance to learn about a different Iran" (345). While there is little if any TV news coverage in Iran, there is Facebook. By using Facebook (her page: My Stealthy Freedom), Alinejad has been able to stir women to action and bring about a "white revolution" (women choosing to wear white scarves and then remove them in public). A grandmother has written this post: "I wanted my granddaughter to feel the wind through her hair before it goes gray." The Bible says a woman's hair is her glory (I Cor.11:15)--but in Islamic Iran it must be completely covered. The book title and the photo with Alinejad's hair blowing in the wind beautifully symbolizes freedom. We in the US know the power of Facebook because we've seen the impact social media has had on our politics and elections. It will become only more powerful in the future. Fascinating to see how Alinejad has been able to impact her homeland though she's not able to enter that country. I'd recommend this book especially to women. I'm planning to attempt a conversation with the next woman I see wearing a hijab. I want to know those women.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Keech

    The book follows the life story of Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist and human rights activist, from her beginnings in an impoverished agricultural village in northern Iran through her career as a journalist in Teheran to her meteoric rise as a human rights activist based in London and New York. Without the benefit of a high school degree, and forbidden by law from qualifying for a press pass, she talked her way into becoming a reporter and journalist covering political events in the Irania The book follows the life story of Masih Alinejad, an Iranian journalist and human rights activist, from her beginnings in an impoverished agricultural village in northern Iran through her career as a journalist in Teheran to her meteoric rise as a human rights activist based in London and New York. Without the benefit of a high school degree, and forbidden by law from qualifying for a press pass, she talked her way into becoming a reporter and journalist covering political events in the Iranian parliament and the theocratic hierarchy that controlled it. Her press pass was revoked after she exposed a widespread scheme of corruption, but she continued as a journalist and columnist, escaping the later brutal crackdown of the Ahmadinejad regime which closed most opposition papers and jailed, beat and killed scores of other journalists. She then successfully crusaded to memorialize the grief and loss of the many victims of the brutal repression by the regime. Masih herself had been brutally detained while in high school after posting placards advocating for a more free and open society. Her courage and determination are extraordinary, as she keeps telling us. Her personal history is quirky and fascinating by any standards. The story of her marriage and pregnancy hardly fits into any cultural construct. She makes an understandable and compelling case for the inhumanity of the forced wearing of the hijab by all girls and women – and the complicity of foreign diplomats who cover their heads while visiting Iran. The story lags somewhat near the end as she details her encounters with movers and shakers of the media. I ended up admiring her body of work without feeling any great fondness for the person behind it. But hey, we've never met.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    Really fascinating story--from small town in Iran to international activist. The book is dry at times and I thought the story at the end dragged on from one social media protest to another, but the early sections were really fascinating to me. Alinejad is an inspiration--but I do wonder whether any of her activism on forced hijab or human rights has been effective. I think she's done more than anyone to place this issue in the public dialogue, but is there any progress? I hope there will be soon Really fascinating story--from small town in Iran to international activist. The book is dry at times and I thought the story at the end dragged on from one social media protest to another, but the early sections were really fascinating to me. Alinejad is an inspiration--but I do wonder whether any of her activism on forced hijab or human rights has been effective. I think she's done more than anyone to place this issue in the public dialogue, but is there any progress? I hope there will be soon.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Esther Bradley-detally

    You can't keep a good woman down. That phrase rings to true in this book; what a warrior for justice Masih Alinejad is! Well written, good details, certainly catches the ethos of the society, and what she overcame. She is a determined and articulate woman whose bravery will impact many women's lives favorably; i vote of thanks and admiration. I just stumbled upon this book, and will recommend it to my friends and my book club.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Crouch

    Superb memoir. I feel lucky to be able to afford a cut and color of my hair each month, and the Iranian women aren't even able to show theirs. But this is about so much more than hair. It's about being able to choose what is important, esp to the oppressed women in Iran. Masih is a most admirable woman who has sacrificed unbelievably to fight for what is right for all women. She also has written an exceptional book!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Leanne Ellis

    Excellent account of the difficult life in modern Iran. I loved how Alinejad sticks to her convictions and calls out the hypocrisy of Western feminists who refuse to break with leftist orthodoxy, even if it means criticizing non-Western countries, cultures, and religion. Women should be able to wear whatever they want as a rule of law!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Great book with first hand knowledge of woman's rights in Iran. Masih tells of her upbringing in Iran and about her position as a journalist and her freedom in Iran as a woman. I highly recommend this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Terri Gulyas

    Excellent and relevant book for anyone who advocates for equality and freedom to choose your destiny. Especially important in light of current US politics and erosion of basic human rights. Such courage showed by women who have suffered oppression under a brutal regime. Couldn't put this one down.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ali Khalessi

    It was similar to what I did experience in my land. Masih is my heroine.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Niloufar

    It’s difficult to critique a memoir without critiquing the author and their story. You become so entangled in their experience that separating the writing technique and overall reading experience from the author’s life becomes impossible. However, I’ll try. The book is well chronicled, with clear descriptions of events and their historical background as well as explanations of laws, regulations, customs and the Iranian culture. I doubt that this was written by Alinejad herself, at least not the It’s difficult to critique a memoir without critiquing the author and their story. You become so entangled in their experience that separating the writing technique and overall reading experience from the author’s life becomes impossible. However, I’ll try. The book is well chronicled, with clear descriptions of events and their historical background as well as explanations of laws, regulations, customs and the Iranian culture. I doubt that this was written by Alinejad herself, at least not the English version. Which is understandable. However the ghostwriter and editor needed to do a far better job. You can have a drinking game with the word “incredulous”. It is used several times in each chapter. Don’t they know of Thesaurus? I’ve lived in Iran but in bigger cities and have no idea what life is like in small villages. I am aware of the limitations and stronger traditions but since I’ve never experienced it first hand I do not want to judge the validity of her stories of life in Ghomikolah. Also I’ve not lived in Iran in the 90s. And during the 80s I was too young to remember anything. So I won’t judge what she says about then either. I’ll take her word for it. Reluctantly. HOWEVER, I’ve lived in England and America and am quite up do date with American and European politics, matters of popular culture and life as an expat and immigrant. Her stories are exaggerated fabrications of a much simpler event. She’s intent on portraying herself as a clumsy, forgetful, all-over-the-place, messy journalist who has better things to worry about than, well everything. At a Vogue shoot she throws a tantrum because she doesn’t want to wear the outfit the stylist pulls for her and recounts a phone conversation the stylist has where Anna Wintour (who she has never heard of) is mentioned several times. Firstly, you are not a celebrity. You are not a fashion icon. Anna Wintour won’t be concerning herself with your little toddler tantrum. Secondly, you’re a journalist and reporter. Research is an essential part of your job. Especially when it comes to other media outlets. And Vogue is one of the most important magazines in the fashion realm. So how on earth did you show up for an interview at an empire without doing a simple Google search on its editor-in-chief? And we get it you love Zara. You enjoy inexpensive clothing made by children in South East Asian countries to be used a few times and dumped due to their terrible quality. Your enthusiasm for the likes of Zara does not make you down to earth. Everything is a drama with her. From her move to England to getting engaged (or not getting engaged) to reluctantly moving to New York to buying a wedding dress and then getting married, she has to make a big deal of how reluctant she was and how she hoped for something to happen to delay the events. She portrays her husband as a guy that puts up with her childish behaviour and adores her no matter what, even if she refuses to marry him for years. Instances like this are not few. At some point it becomes so predictable and boring. I’ve known of Masih Alinejad and her campaigns and although I admire her bravery and enthusiasm for fighting for women’s rights I find her methods too exhausting. She does not pick her battles and ends up kicking and screaming for causes that could be dealt with in a more diplomatic and educated way. I’m a firm believer of reading a variety of authors to expand my knowledge of life on the other side, but I do not believe that I have to agree with everything said in the book. Read this with a pinch of salt and beware that many of her anecdotes are exaggerated versions of what actually happened or daydreams of what she wanted to happen. I listened to the audible version and it was quite uncomfortable to listen to Linda Henning struggle her way through Farsi phrase and sentences. If you’re going to have another language injected into your English book wouldn’t it be better to have someone who is familiar with if not native in both languages read it?

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ellery

    I was absolutely spellbound by this book. Masih is such an incredible human being. I am in complete awe of her bravery and fearlessness, not to mention incredible talent and personality. I've been following Masih for a few years now, having first learned about her because of the My Stealthy Freedom movement. Curious to learn more about it, her story, and Iran, I was quick to order the book as soon as I learned she has written it. Given the title and her activism centering around compulsory hijab I was absolutely spellbound by this book. Masih is such an incredible human being. I am in complete awe of her bravery and fearlessness, not to mention incredible talent and personality. I've been following Masih for a few years now, having first learned about her because of the My Stealthy Freedom movement. Curious to learn more about it, her story, and Iran, I was quick to order the book as soon as I learned she has written it. Given the title and her activism centering around compulsory hijab in Iran, I assumed the book would be almost entirely about that. But actually, this is her story from childhood all the way to the year of writing, 2017. She begins in her village with stories of her upbringing and teenage years. The first 40 or 50 pages were about her family and I wasn't sure where it was all headed. But somewhere around page 60 or so things really get going with her stories of getting kicked out of her high school and in her new high school getting together with other thinkers and government reformists creating an active activist group. Then comes her retelling of her stories of being in jail for the student group and from there on out it becomes a complete page turner. I kept looking forward to when I could pick up the book next. Her life as a journalist is so impactful because of who she is as a person. She is brazen, fearless, and honestly, sometimes very naive and compulsive, but what is so interesting is that that compulsive and naive side of her only seems to end up serving her well again and again. It leads her always to the right place. There are so many places in this book where you're on the edge of your seat wanting to know what happens next, rooting for her so hard, and often amused and smiling at her antics and clever ways. This book has inspired me to be a better activist and human being. I've learned a lot about Iran and what it's like to be a woman in Iran and about the failings of western feminists, never standing up to the Iranian regime. So much of what is in these pages will infuriate you - the Iranian regime is truly despicable - and a great deal more will move you deeply. I can't recommend this book enough. I anticipate it will be one of my top reads of 2019.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Zeek

    A book for all women, for our times.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Adithya Dushyanth

    One of the best books I've read in a long long time. I have been fascinated by this part of the world - the Middle East for quite some time now. Iran has been of special interest to me for its history, its landscapes and its cities. It was while reading about Iran and life in Iran online that I discovered the My Stealthy Freedom campaign. I was hooked and immediately invested in the brave women who threw off their hijabs in public, risking arrest for their freedom. Reading this book now after mo One of the best books I've read in a long long time. I have been fascinated by this part of the world - the Middle East for quite some time now. Iran has been of special interest to me for its history, its landscapes and its cities. It was while reading about Iran and life in Iran online that I discovered the My Stealthy Freedom campaign. I was hooked and immediately invested in the brave women who threw off their hijabs in public, risking arrest for their freedom. Reading this book now after months of following the campaign really hit home for me. Masih writes powerfully about the claustrophobic lives of women in Iran - even as an independent career minded journalist in cosmopolitan Tehran, she had to ensure that not even a strand of hair escaped her hijab so as to keep working. She writes powerfully and evocatively of life under a totalitarian country - being sent to prison, subjected to multiple interrogations, living in fear of morality police, the pain of living in exile... And above all, she is one of the most inspiring humans, showing us all through to keep fighting, to never despair and to always go for it: for she went from a girl who didn't even finish high school to now being a powerful voice for the voiceless. Five stars.

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