A boy.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. There are the women who say their experiences as boys gave them confidence as adult women, and the women who say they missed out on important childhood experiences as girls. And the interviewer didn't mention asking the sisters of the girl-boys how they felt about not being enough for their parents, so their parents created a boy.

Wouldn't it be nice if no one ever felt the need to do this? If girls were considered as good as boys by their cultures--I'm not just talking about Afghanistan, but about all cultures? And in Afghanistan, if girls could live as freely as boys?

A recent poll found that 69% of the U.S. wants out of Afghanistan. I do, too--but I'm deathly afraid of what will happen to the country's women and girls when we leave.

Deathly afraid.
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Published on March 28, 2012 09:48 • 562 views
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message 1: by K. (new)

K. I completely agree that girls should be able to live as freely as boys, but I would counter your last two paragraphs by saying that I am deathly afraid of what is happening to the country's women and girls at the hands of the U.S.


message 2: by Zainab (new)

Zainab I have to agree with Pangur, I believe things are worse with the US in Afghanistan at the moment.


message 3: by Tamora (last edited Mar 29, 2012 12:23PM) (new)

Tamora Pierce Pangur wrote: "I completely agree that girls should be able to live as freely as boys, but I would counter your last two paragraphs by saying that I am deathly afraid of what is happening to the country's women a..."

I have to agree with Pangur, I believe things are worse with the US in Afghanistan at the moment.

Pangur, how so? Apart from the massacre and the drones, which I can't answer. They are such horrible things that there are no words, and we are entirely at fault.

If you and Zainab were expecting me to defend the deaths of Afghan civilians at American hands, I cannot and will not. They are inexcusable, and they are the reason, together with the internal collapses of our own soldiers, why I want our troops to come home.

The violence against civilians is not being prosecuted properly by the military, despite the outcries of Americans (there are a lot of us who want justice for those who never should have been killed). Many of us never wanted the war in Afghanistan and we hate the damage to the country and the people. We also hate the damage to our own people and our national soul, after having taught another part of the world that we are a nation of monsters.

I do think, though, that there are some Americans who don't stand by and let women be brutalized.


message 4: by Mackenzie (new)

Mackenzie I think it is a very western point of view to assume that all women in Afghanistan are unhappy with their seemingly "lesser" role. You have to acknowledge that there is a huge culture difference, and its the western assumption that everything should be as it is here which is wrong. Yes women have less rights there and yes I believe all women should have more rights, but have you personally asked any women from the actual country on their opinion. Frankly, there are women even over here that like men to make their decisions for them. Nothing wrong with idealism, but not everyone feels the same way. Their country should be run as how the majority feels it should be run, whether that gives women more rights or not is up to them, not some outside idealist.


message 5: by K. (new)

K. Tamora wrote: "Pangur wrote: "I completely agree that girls should be able to live as freely as boys, but I would counter your last two paragraphs by saying that I am deathly afraid of what is happening to the co..."

Sorry-I should have been more specific. I think you and I are basically saying the same thing. We both agree that US military actions in Afghanistan aren't helping, and that the military is not properly prosecuting soldiers' crimes.

I also agree with you that there is no excuse for the subjugation/brutalization of women. However, I think that change has to come from inside Afghanistan, from the people themselves. Afghanistan has been a tribal, war-torn nation for a long time. The people are tired and filled with generational anger and hatred (I would be, too). They are suspicious of outside intervention (the Soviet Union tried the same thing we are doing now...it didn't work). The voices of change must come from people they trust and respect: their own countryfolk.

Does that make sense?


message 6: by Yuseyz (new)

Yuseyz I agree. I'm Pakistani and I have two older brothers. Basically i'm told to do all thew work because i'm a girl. It makes me so frustrated because they don't have to do anything. I also agree with Pangur.


message 7: by Angel (new)

Angel Mackenzie wrote: "I think it is a very western point of view to assume that all women in Afghanistan are unhappy with their seemingly "lesser" role. You have to acknowledge that there is a huge culture difference, a..."

I think the problem comes when they aren't given a choice to see how things could be different. I mean with things the way they are now would any woman who might want something different be able to speak up? I don't think so. Just because someone is content with bondage does it mean it's okay? That's the question isn't it.


message 8: by Darcey (new)

Darcey I live in India right now, and one of the biggest issues here (next to corruption) is gender equality. Due to the very emotional subject of Pakistan, it often doesn't get brought up -- but India has its own issues to face (dowry deaths, honour killings, etc). Some improvements are happening, but at the same time in more rural areas, a woman has twice the workload of a man and more expectations heaped upon her for daily life than a man does.

I agree that the voice of change must come from the people -- and that in the West, there are people who have become overly detached to the issue of cultural expectation ("It's their way, we shouldn't judge them" versus "No, wrong is wrong, regardless of what a culture says is okay", re: mutilation, honour killings, and similar). The change has to come from people who can explain why certain things are wrong on a scale that isn't bound up by cultural norms and values, which will always be a struggle, and reconcile the change with those cultural norms and values and make them accepted.


message 9: by Tamora (new)

Tamora Pierce Mackenzie wrote: "I think it is a very western point of view to assume that all women in Afghanistan are unhappy with their seemingly "lesser" role. You have to acknowledge that there is a huge culture difference, a..."

Mackenzie, do you read the news from Afghanistan? Not the war news, but the civilian news? There are privileged women in every country, but they are a minority, and according to a recent poll Afghanistan is the worst country in the world for women to live. I'm not talking about the western point of view. I'm talking about the right to an education, to walk in the streets, to run in a business, to get health care, to survive marriage--things which women in other Muslim countries are more able to do.

I'm talking about the right to vote. I'm talking about the right to run for office without being shot or requiring an armed guard, which has happened to female candidates there. I'm not talking about the right to wear or not to wear the burqa--that's the decision of the women who live there. I'm talking about the right not to be forced to marry their rapists when they get out of jail--if they even went to jail. I'm talking about the right not to have their noses cut off their faces or not to be set on fire. I'm talking about the pathetic number of shelters to the number of women who need them--and how unsafe the shelters are due to attack from men trying to get the women in them.

No, I haven't asked any women there; I don't know any. I have a feeling my books are forbidden there, which is how I hear from women and girls in a lot of countries. But I do read what they say in their interviews, and I do heard what they say in video interviews.


message 10: by Tamora (new)

Tamora Pierce Darcey wrote: "I live in India right now, and one of the biggest issues here (next to corruption) is gender equality. Due to the very emotional subject of Pakistan, it often doesn't get brought up -- but India ha..."

I agree, change has to come from within. It doesn't kill us to fund the organizations and the women who are already there and working for change. I learned a while back that not all Afghan women shared my view about veils, and I adjusted my views to listen to what the women of that culture wanted. I'm not completely stupid.


message 11: by Rachelle (new)

Rachelle Afghanistan is a mess right now and it is a dangerous place for the women who live there. The invasion by the Americans was poorly planned and even humanitarian efforts are failing. It is unfortunate that this beautiful country is so torn apart. I do know Afghani women and girls and living there has been a struggle for years. I know a women who had to quit school at the 8th grade and stay inside for her safety - not because her parents didn't want to be educated. Since coming to the US she now has a high school diploma and her daughter - not her oldest who is a boy- will be the first one to go to college.

We are all worried about the future there.


message 12: by Mackenzie (last edited Apr 04, 2012 10:18PM) (new)

Mackenzie Tamora wrote: "Mackenzie wrote: "I think it is a very western point of view to assume that all women in Afghanistan are unhappy with their seemingly "lesser" role. You have to acknowledge that there is a huge cul..."

Sorry it took me so long to reply. I'm not disagreeing with the statement that the country has sexual inequality or even that it is a terrible country to live in as a woman. I simply meant that the change has to come from within the country as many others have said here. I also believe you mentioned that the military should be pulled from the area which I also agree on. I just believe that another country's ideals should not be enforced on a country with very different cultural views. As I said, I do believe every woman should have rights and the country moving in this direction would be positive from our perspective. I'm simply stating that saying it should be such and such way is ignoring their perspective.

I hope women across the world are treated with respect and love. I hope for violence against women to end. But I do not believe westerners enforcing ideals on another country is the right way to go about it. It's going to take a change in their own perspective and a paradigm shift within their own country.

Sorry I don't mean to be inflammatory I just like to look at both sides of the coin and play the devil's advocate. Sometimes people can get caught up in their ideals and forget to place themselves in another persons shoes (a completely human thing to do!).


message 13: by Zainab (new)

Zainab Tamora wrote: "Pangur wrote: "I completely agree that girls should be able to live as freely as boys, but I would counter your last two paragraphs by saying that I am deathly afraid of what is happening to the co..."

I wasn't expecting you to defend the deaths of the Afghan civilians. I meant more of how they began supporting the Mujahedeen during the invasion by the Soviets giving them suplies and then the Taliban who used their previous power and influence to opress the women in so many disgusting ways. I want them out of my home country, completely and totally. They've done more harm than good.


message 14: by Tamora (new)

Tamora Pierce Zainab wrote: "Tamora wrote: "Pangur wrote: "I completely agree that girls should be able to live as freely as boys, but I would counter your last two paragraphs by saying that I am deathly afraid of what is happ..."

I wish I could argue, but I can't.


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