Afghan women are on a mission to show the world that their country’s culture shouldn’t be equated with the Taliban’s oppressive interpretation of Sharia law.
The Taliban recently mandated Afghan women wear hijabs in school, including students, lecturers, and employees, CNN reports. In response, Afghan women from around the world shared photos of themselves wearing traditional outfits on social media using the hashtag #DoNotTouchMyClothes.
While many associate the burqa, a robe that covers women from head to toe, as the traditional outfit worn by Afghan women, it is far from the truth. Dr. Bahar Jalali, Historian, founder of the First Gender Studies Program in Afghanistan and the woman behind the #DoNotTouchMYCLothes movement, tweeted, “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 Taliban.”
— Dr. Bahar Jalali (@RoxanaBahar1) September 12, 2021
Inspired by Dr. Bahar Jalali, many other Afghan women shared their own photographs to protest. The results is a collection of ornate, colorful, and beautiful traditional dresses that celebrate and educate the world about real Afghan culture.
“Proudly wearing in our traditional, colourful, vibrant Afghan clothes,” Dr. Fatima Kakkar, an Afghan pediatrician in Canada, tweeted.
— Fatima Kakkar, MD,MPH (@DrFatimaKakkar) September 13, 2021
Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi, Head of the Afghan Service at DW News, shared a photo of herself with the caption, “Me wearing traditional Afghan attire in Kabul. This is Afghan culture and this is how Afghan women dress.”
— Waslat Hasrat-Nazimi (@WasHasNaz) September 12, 2021
Peymana Assad, The first UK elected official of Afghan origin, posted her own photo with the message “Our cultural attire is not the dementor outfits the Taliban have women wearing.”
This is Afghan culture. My traditional dress #AfghanWomen
Thank you to Dr @RoxanaBahar1 for the inspiration.
Our cultural attire is not the dementor outfits the Taliban have women wearing. pic.twitter.com/i9wFASfWR6
— Peymana Assad 🏔 (@Peymasad) September 12, 2021
Since Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in August 2021, the fate of Afghan women has been a terrible concern. CNN reports that the last time the Taliban was in power between 1996 and 2001, women were banned from attending school and working, and were subject to violence and severe oppression.