After the Taliban announced that women will be allowed to study as long as they wear traditional Islamic dress, Afghan women have started an online campaign to protest against the new dress code.
Using hashtags like #DoNotTouchMyClothes and #AfghanistanCulture, many are sharing pictures of their colourful traditional dresses.
When you type “Afghan traditional clothes” into Google you will be overwhelmed by multi-coloured cultural dresses, each one unique with some women wearing embroidered hats and others heavy headpieces, depending on the region they are from.
Therefore the pictures of women in long, fully veiled black abayas, covering their faces and hands and rallying in Kabul over the weekend to support the “Taliban order” is a huge contrast.
In one video, the women holding a pro-Taliban rally in the capital were seen saying Afghan women wearing make-up and in modern clothes “do not represent the Muslim Afghan woman” and “we don’t want women’s rights that are foreign and at odds with sharia” – referring to the strict version of Islamic law supported by the Taliban. Afghan women around the world were quick to hit back.
Joining a social media campaign started by Dr. Bahar Jalali, a former history professor at the American University in Afghanistan, they used hashtags such as #DoNotTouchMyClothes and #AfghanistanCulture to reclaim their traditional clothes.
Dr. Jalali said that she started the campaign because “one of my biggest concerns is Afghanistan’s identity and sovereignty is under attack”.
“I wanted to inform the world the attires that you’ve been seeing in the media [referring to those worn by women at the pro-Taliban rally] that’s not our culture, that’s not our identity,” she said.
She encouraged other to post pictures of their traditional Afghan dresses and many answered the call.
With the takeover some Afghan women have already started dressing more modestly with full coverings.
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