The Afghan girls who live as boys

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The Atlantic has come out with a piece on Afghan girls who live as boys. They feature a girl named Mehran, age 7, who has recently taken every opportunity to tell those around her that she is a boy. She refuses to sew or play with dolls, instead opting to play soccer and cycle and run. Despite her actually being a girl, all the teachers play along and help protect her secret by letting her change clothes in a different room when she needs to. In Afghanistan, blurring the lines between gender is not uncommon. It is a strategy in order to keep the minds of children–especially little girls like Mehran–as pure as possible before they are married off. Niima, a 10-year-old, attends school in a dress and head scarf but then changes before she goes to work to earn the equivalent of $1.30 to support her Pashtun family of nine women. She couldn’t work there if anyone publicly knew she was a girl. She poses as a boy for the survival of her family. The bacha posh children of Afghanistan have to pass in order to support their families and themselves. When asking Afghan women the difference between themselves and their male counterparts, their answer rings loudly because the real difference is freedom. Read about these children at the Atlantic.




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