Yesterday’s New York Times reported that some girls in Afghanistan live their young lives as boys. The practice is apparently a longstanding one, based on economics, social pressure, or even superstition. This is difficult to understand for those of us who grew up in the west following the women’s liberation movement. We expect our daughters to have the same freedoms as our sons. While many of us would like to have both sons and daughters, we feel no despair when all our children are female.
Osama, a 2003 film in our library collection, tells the fictional story of a teenage girl who must masquerade as a boy in order to earn a living for her all-female family. The story is fictional, but yesterday’s NY Times article, combined with stories of Taliban repression and retaliation make the story seem plausible. For anyone who would like a compelling picture of male/female problems in Afghanistan, I recommend watching Osama in conjunction with the reading New York Times article. The movie is very disturbing, but may give insight into Afghan culture.