Women fight Taliban’s hijab mandate by posting pictures of colourful Afghan dresses on social media

Photos of women wearing colourful traditional dresses which are not hijab, have been seen on social media. It is their effort to explain to the world more about the glorious Afghan culture

What a person chooses — or not — to wear, is entirely their choice. And anything else, which even remotely reeks of imposition, is understood to operate from a place of patriarchy. In many cultures, people — men and women — are expected to cover up and dress modestly. But the events in Afghanistan have led to a global discourse on the state of women there, and whether or not they are being stripped of their choices.

Ever since the Taliban-takeover of the country, Afghans living around the world have spoken out against them. Women, especially, have been protesting the Taliban’s new hijab mandate in schools. On social media, they have been posting photos of themselves wearing colourful traditional dresses which are not hijab, in an effort to tell the world more about the glorious Afghan culture.

A CNN report states that in recent days, Taliban has made it mandatory for a gender-based segregation inside classrooms. The group has said female students, lecturers and employees who continue to receive and impart education, must wear hijabs in accordance with the group’s interpretation of Sharia law.

In fact, a recent photo shared on social media has been called heartbreaking by many. It shows a group of female students covered head-to-toe in black robes, waving the Taliban flags in the lecture hall of a government-run university in Kabul, as if to show their solidarity.

It has led to some debate, with many netizens saying it is an effort to kill the culture of the country by oppressing women.

In response to this picture, many Afghan women have posted photos of themselves in bright traditional Afghan dresses which are in stark contrast to the black hijab mandate.

The CNN report states that it was one Bahar Jalali, a former faculty member of the American University of Afghanistan, who initiated this trend on Twitter, by first tweeting a picture of a woman in a black robe and veil, writing: “No woman has ever dressed like this in the history of Afghanistan. This is utterly foreign and alien to Afghan culture. I posted my pic in the traditional Afghan dress to inform, educate, and dispel the misinformation that is being propagated by the Taliban.”

Inspired, other Afghan women followed suit, by sharing photos of themselves and showing the world what real Afghan culture is all about.

Ever since the swift takeover of the country by the Taliban last month, the state of the women there has been a cause of concern globally. The group is infamous for its draconian conditions and laws, which encourage lashing, beating, threatening and murdering of women who, in their opinion, stray from “Islamic laws”.

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