There’s a fascinating BBC News Magazine piece today about young Afghan girls who live as boys.
According to the article, there is a longstanding tradition wherein Afghan parents disguise a daughter as a son, either to avoid the social censure of having no male children, or to enable the child to work outside the home. When the girls reach maturity, they are expected to switch their gender identification and live as women.
Although some of the young women interviewed for the article approvingly cite the benefits of having had the opportunity to enjoy male freedoms, it’s clear that the transition back to gender conformity can be rough. In what has to be the most fascinating sentence I’ve read all month, a 20 year old woman named Elaha makes clear her reluctance to resume a traditional female identity:
“If my parents force me to get married, I will compensate for the sorrows of Afghan women and beat my husband so badly that he will take me to court every day.”
My favorite part is the offhand reference to courts as the appropriate venue for addressing domestic violence, but wow, what a loaded statement.