The New York Times Article – September 20, 2010
‘Afghan Boys Are Prized, So Girls Live The Part’
In a nation where segregation of two different sexes are strictly enforced, Afghan boys are seen has family’s most prized possession whereas girls are bounded by societal rules and culture that prevents them from having the most basic freedom such as running errands, playing outside the house and determining their own future. Often times, a family’s pride and social status highly depends on whether they have a son or not. I is revealed in the article that a woman is deemed to be a failure if she fails to honor the family with the birth of son and she would always be the one that others put the blame upon. With the unimaginable amount of social pressure to have a son, households in Afghanistan resort to a practice that might appear to be obscure to the western culture – this is known as ‘bacha posh’ : dressing up a daughter as a son. The transformation of a girl to a boy is usually occurs at a very young age, and is as simple as cutting her hair and dressing her in typical Afghan men’s clothing, there are no specific legal or religious proscriptions against the practice. In the land when males are more highly prized, a ‘bacha posh’ increases the family’s standing that prevents them from being the object of sympathy and contempt for not having a son, the transformed males also have access to the freedom that are unheard for girls. Many would argue that such acts are the product of the family’s selfishness due to the fact that they chose to sacrifice their daughter’s identity in exchange of a more prominent family name. However, mothers in Afghanistan cries out that they ventured into this path simply because they had no other choice and although she wished such practices did not exist, it is in their culture that males are more superior and they are in no position to change that. In some cases, the criticism of not producing a son went as...
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