Marion Cotillard, Jane Birkin and More Cut Their Hair to Support Iranian Protesters

Marion Cotillard and Jane Birkin smiling
Photos via Getty Images

Sometimes a haircut isn’t just a haircut. On Wednesday, a video of Jane Birkin, Marion Cotillard, Charlotte Rampling, and Isabelle Huppert chopping off chunks of their long locks surfaced with a caption featuring two telling hashtags: #HairForFreedom and #SoutienFemmesIran (French for #SupportIranianWomen). As it flashes between clips of French actresses including Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Adjani, Mélanie Laurent, and Marie-Ange Casta following suit, the video explains what prompted them all to pick up the scissors. The move was a show of support for the protests that were prompted by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who died in custody after Iran’s so-called morality police detained her for allegedly violating the country’s hijab regulations on September 16. “All she stood accused of was wearing her veil in an inappropriate manner,” reads one of the first lines of text. “She died for having a few locks of her hair exposed.”

Supporters of Iranian women have also been symbolically cutting their hair at protests across the world. The demonstrations began in Iran just hours after Amini’s death, and in the nearly three weeks since, the Iranian government has been cracking down by restricting internet access and attacking the crowds, resulting in the death of at least 154 protesters. (Tehran governor Mohsen Mansouri also promised to “take action against the celebrities who have fanned the flames of the riots” after a wave of Iranian public figures spoke out last week.) The dozens of women who partook in the #HairForFreedom video, which was conceived by the French lawyer Richard Sedillot, made sure to highlight the violence that has ensued. “It is impossible not to denounce again and again this terrible repression,” reads the accompanying caption posted by @SoutiènFemmesIran. “The dead are already numbered in the dozens, including children. The arrests only add to the number of prisoners already illegally detained and too often tortured.”

Cotillard and co. aren’t alone in using their hair to make a political statement in recent weeks. Tilda Swinton attended last month’s Venice Film Festival sporting bright yellow locks as a show of support for Ukraine amid its months-long war with Russia.