The Meaning of her Covering

Many from the West see Afghan women as being oppressed, because they wear a covering.

However, Afghans see the same covering as part of their protection.  It shows they are good women and provides them the protection when they are away from their families.

Families in this country, do limit their women and girls freedom, both in terms of leaving the house and in terms of choices that are available to them, in order to provide protection.

The women who lived near us in Pul-e-Charkhi wore full burqas whenever they leave the house. The young woman who lived with her husband, children and in-laws across the road only left the house to go to the clinic or twice a year for shopping before the major celebrations (and then only always in the company of her mother-in-law).

But to be honest, she was content and happy.

She had what she wanted, a husband who loved her, two beautiful children and in-laws who helped her raise her children and do the tasks that running a house requires.  She laughed easily and clearly enjoyed the company of her extended family.  Her younger sisters in laws were excellent aunties to her children and helped her when they weren’t busy with their school work.

While she may not have had many choices in life, she would have chosen what she had but unfortunately, for many it is not so.  And when the family does not provide the protection that Afghan culture is so proud of, then the woman is left without choice and without a voice, suffering behind the veil that is supposed to protect.

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Posted on November 2, 2011, in Reflections. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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