Afghan women share photos in traditional clothes to protest Taliban dress code

Afghan women share photos of themselves wearing traditional Afghan dresses as they try to rally against the Taliban’s strict dress codes for female students.

Historian Bahar Jalali, a former history professor at the American University of Afghanistan, launched the #DoNotTouchMyClothes hashtag on Saturday in response to images of pro-Taliban protesters wearing black burqas.

“I was deeply concerned because I don’t want the world to think this is the real face of Afghanistan,” Jalali said. UNITED STATES TODAY in an interview. “I said, listen, I have to do something.”

Following Jalali’s message from a Photo of herself wearing a traditional green Afghan dress on Twitter, women around the world shared photos of them wearing the colorful traditional outfit with the hashtags #DoNotTouchMyClothes and #AfghanistanCulture.

Dr. Fatima Kakkar, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Sainte-Justine University Health Center in Montreal, Canada, tweeted her support for the campaign, writing: “Proudly wear our traditional, colorful and vibrant Afghan clothing,” with a photo of women wearing traditional afghan dresses.

Jalali, historian of 1960s Afghanistan and women’s rights activist, started the gender studies program at the American University of Afghanistan.

Speaking about the campaign, Jalali said she didn’t know her tweet would go viral, but was thrilled.

“I think a lot of other Afghan women, like me, feel the urgency,” she said. “These photos are more than just a fashion statement or a fashion statement, although that’s also that. It’s really a form of cultural resistance and all these other Afghan women know what’s at stake.

Acting Afghan Higher Education Minister Abdul Bqi Haqqani said on Sunday that women would be allowed to study at universities, but only in gender-separated classes. Women who study must follow a strict Islamic dress code.

Jalali said the Taliban’s dress restrictions were “totally foreign” to Afghan women, wondering if the women at the pro-Taliban protest were Afghans because they were wearing long-sleeved gloves she had never seen in. Afghanistan.

“In pre-war Afghanistan, women had a choice of what to wear. My mother got married in a miniskirt in 1969, ”Jalali said. “At that time, you could wear a miniskirt. You could wear traditional Afghan clothing. You could wear a scarf. People had the freedom to express themselves through clothing and off we went.

“I think one thing my campaign can do is show people in the West that Afghan women are like other women,” Jalali said. “They have agency. They are very aware of themselves. They are not oppressed. They are willing to take risks.

“We should not be seen as victims. We should be seen as fighters.

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