For Nasrin the headscarf transcends aesthetics, it is a symbol of the Islamic Republic itself. A symbol of that which reduces her to something that she is not. A symbol of something that can quite literally smother her identity. Only in the alcoves of this rigid regime, such as the corner of her friend's café, could she be herself.
On my second night in Iran, I was invited to a party in a middle-class area of Tehran. Since we were a mixed gendered group with a foreigner in their midst, we had to be reasonably inconspicuous. As soon as we stepped over the threshold of the house, however, we were no longer in the Islamic Republic.