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Utopia Talk / Politics / Bacha Posh
| Tue Jun 18 06:34:48|
They wanted a son so much they made their daughter live as a boy
Sanjoor, Afghanistan — At first glance, 13-year-old Mangal Karimy could be any boy living in a small village in western Afghanistan, hauling firewood and feeding cattle on his father's farm.
Silently he hurries between chores -- a slight figure in luminous white trainers, lugging jerry cans of water across barren fields.
Until the age of two, Mangal was Madina, one of seven daughters chosen by her parents to live as a boy under an Afghan tradition called "bacha posh," a Dari term that translates to "dressed as a boy."
For as long as Mangal can remember, he tucks his long hair under a woolen cap, pulls on his jacket and trousers and helps his father tend their wheat and dairy farm in the snow-capped village of Sanjoor, in Herat province.
In Afghanistan's deeply patriarchal society, sons are highly valued over daughters -- to the point where a family is deemed "incomplete" without a boy, says Nadia Hashimi, an Afghan-American pediatrician and author of the best-selling 2014 bacha posh novel "The Pearl That Broke Its Shell."
Girls are brought up believing they are a burden on the family, said Sodaba Ehrari, Chief Editor of the Afghanistan Women News Agency (AWNA), who has interviewed several parents of bacha posh children. Women "cannot earn money to support their families, they cannot live alone -- and so many reasons (like this) lead them in this patriarchal society to practice bacha posh," she said.
The centuries-old tradition says much about the discrimination faced by Afghan girls quite literally from the moment they're born. After all, "no one who has only sons is transforming them into a daughter," Hashimi says.
The transition is temporary, and bacha posh children are expected to shed their male identities once they hit puberty and return to living as girls -- something that doesn't always come easily.
Underpinning the custom is the superstition that a bacha posh child will "turn the hand of fate, so that the next child born into the family will be a boy," Hashimi says.
Mangal's father, Khoda Bakhsh Karimy, told CNN that should the family have a son, the child would return to living as a girl. Until then or the point when Mangal hits puberty, Khoda and his wife Amena Karimy were "happy" with Mangal and the responsibilities he carries out, like "welcoming guests to our home and offering them tea or food."
'I made my daughter like a boy'
After having two girls, Mangal's parents longed for a son. "We made her like a son to help her father," said mother Amena.
"I made my daughter like a boy to serve me food and water when I am working in the desert," father Khoda said.
In the Dari language there are no gender pronouns "he" and "she." But Mangal told CNN he preferred being referred to by his male identity -- and the English equivalent "he."
I find it funny that they force pronouns in the article to fit in with western gender identity politics.
| Tue Jun 18 08:26:48|
| Tue Jun 18 08:51:27|
Turns out transgenderism is not just a recent Western phenomenon. Who knew?
| Tue Jun 18 08:59:24|
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