Gender in Afghanistan

GENDER-articleLargeThe New York Times talks about the enormous pressure to have a son in Afghanistan, which causes some families disguise their daughters in boy clothes.

I love this picture, because the kids are so clearly clowning for the camera. I could see my kids doing that. I love the universal goofiness of kids.

As I fed the kids breakfast this morning, I showed the picture to Jonah and told him about the second class status of girls and women in other parts of the world, but it was tough. How do you explain insanity?


4 thoughts on “Gender in Afghanistan

  1. Yeah, this is even harder when you’re explaining it to girls, especially ones who look just like the ones in your picture.
    We re-visit the burka rules with our kids every once in a while, while our children stare at us in disbelief.

  2. Oh I don’t know, it’s not all that insane. As least these girls weren’t aborted, like they might be (have been) in India and China. Tell Jonah the truth. He’s a perceptive sweet guy and the people he will come into contact with will appreciate and benefit from his empathy.
    Of course, it’s easy for me to say. My daughter doesn’t yet understand the genocide documentaries that clutter my Netflix queue. (It helps that the worst of it is subtitled from the German or the Japanese.)

  3. I am reminded of the article about “sworn virgins” in Albania (women who forsake their female lives and live as men). I want to say it was in the NYT Magazine some years ago. Anyway, it’s a custom that is dying out as Albanian women gain more human rights. Also thinking of “Boys Don’t Cry” and the John Gregory Dunne New Yorker piece about Brandon Teena. The article doesn’t mention if these Afghan girls are more likely to be sexually assaulted. Physical assault sounds like a standard of Afghan marriages. Thoroughly depressing.

  4. Even worse is the young boys in Afganistan who are forced to dance dressed as women at social events, dancing in the stead of adult women who are trapped in their homes.
    Later in the evening, the boys are often taken to hotel rooms and raped. The practice is called “bachabaze” and according to a BBC report:
    According to Abdulkhabir Uchqun, an MP from northern Afghanistan, the tradition is not just alive, but steadily growing. “Unfortunately it is on the increase in almost every region of Afghanistan. I asked local authorities to act to stop this practice but they don’t do anything,” he says. “Our officials are too ashamed to admit that it even exists.”

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