Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reportedly issued a fatwa to deal with a rising threat against the stability and morality of the Islamic Republic: all cartoon and animated women must wear hijabs. It is not clear if Khamenei will also create a cartoon version of Iran’s thuggish morality police, the Gasht-e Ershad, to pursue such “women” in the virtual streets of cartoons.
The issue was raised by a viewer and reported on the IranWire news website. Khamenei was asked “Is observing hijab necessary for characters in animated films (three-dimensional paintings that come from the artist’s mind)?”
Khamenei responded with a rather convoluted answer: “Although wearing hijab in such a hypothetical situation is not required per se, observing hijab in animation is required due to the consequences of not wearing hijab.” So wearing hijabs are not required but they are required because of the consequences of not wearing hijabs.
Apparently, the same Looney Tune logic applies to a cartoon woman.
The story stood out for me because of our own struggle with the issue of virtual porn. Some have argued that laws against child pornography should apply even when no actual child is depicted in a purely computer generated context. In a 2002 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a provision of federal law that banned computer simulations and virtual pornography under the first amendment. In Ashcroft v. The Free Speech Coalition, Justice Kennedy in a 6-3 decision found that the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 was “overbroad” and swept within its prohibitions many valuable and artistic works.
“Pictures of what appear to be a 17-year-old engaging in sexually explicit activity do not in every case contravene community standards . . . The (Act) also prohibits speech having serious redeeming value, proscribing the visual depiction of an idea — that of teenagers engaging in sexual activity — that is a fact of modern society and has been a theme in art and literature for centuries.”
That is clearly not a concern for Khamenei who wants women covered regardless of whether they are real or cartoon. I suspect he may have seen “Who Killed Roger Rabbit?” and the distinctly immodest appeal of Jessica Rabbit. However, the scene may not have quite the impact in a hijab: