The Death of Mahsa Amini Sparks Protest


Around the world, women are cutting their hair in protest.

For many, it seems like such an inadequate form of protest. Storms of comments ask “What is cutting your hair going to do?” or “I don’t see how this will bring her back.”

I direct you to Mahsa Amini. Mahsa was walking down the street. She could have been walking from the market. She could’ve been walking from the park, from a family member’s house, or to clear her mind. We’ll never know what she was thinking in those moments. Maybe she was thinking about her brother, or a pet, or her parents, or her future, or a deadline she couldn’t miss.

Mahsa Amini was walking down the street on September 16th, 2022. She was stopped by two officers, who noticed she wasn’t wearing her hijab. In America, freedom of expression is an amendment. In Iran, hijabs are law. The officers detained Mahsa, and took her to the police station. In between that, she was violently struck in the head by an officer and that is what led to her death.

We wake up every day in America with a choice. Who we’ll be is never strictly defined, even by ourselves. We can cut and dye and shave our heads, change our names, discover our pronouns, or sexualities, or genders. We can wear short skirts or kilts, and decide to toss all our summer clothes for a better, more aesthetically pleasing autumn vibe.

Mahsa Amini walked down the street with her beautiful long hair and died. Mahsa Amini and so many other Iranian women are not given the choice to show off their curls, their braids, their faces, or their bodies. This protest – this cutting of our hair, is a symbol. A symbol of freedom. Of deserved justice for these women.

UpBeacon asked an array of Muslim women what it meant to them. To some, it means protection. A reminder, or a way to judge character before appearance. And every single one of them claimed to wear it as a choice. Because that’s what it should be. Their choice.

People in Iran are protesting in more active ways, and getting attacked, shot at, and jailed for it. The least we can do is use our nation’s privilege, and stand with Iranian women. It won’t bring her back. It won’t bring back the thousands of women whose culture and religion are being used against them. But it will show solidarity. And I think Mahsa deserves that.