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Afghan women post pictures of colorful dresses that oppose the ‘hijab mandate’

What a person chooses to wear – or not wear – is entirely up to them. Everything else, including anything remotely resembling imposition, is understood to be patriarchal. People – women as well as men – are expected to dress modestly in many cultures. However, the events in Afghanistan have sparked a global discussion about the state of women in that country, and whether or not they are losing their rights.

Afghans around the world have spoken out against the Taliban since they took over the country. Taliban demands that students wear hijabs in schools have enraged women in particular. As part of their social media efforts to spread the word about Afghan culture, they have been posting photos of themselves in colorful traditional Afghan attire that is not a hijab.

According to a CNN report, the Taliban has mandated gender segregation in classrooms in recent days. According to the group, female students, lecturers and employees who continue to receive and impart education should wear hijabs in accordance with Sharia law. A recent photo posted on social media has been described as heartbreaking by many people. In the photo, female students wearing black robes wave the Taliban flags in the lecture hall of a government-run university in Kabul, as if they were showing their solidarity. Many netizens have expressed concern that it is an attempt to kill the culture of the country by oppressing women.

Afghan women have responded to the picture by posting photos of themselves in bright traditional Afghan dresses, which contrast starkly with the black hijab mandate. According to CNN, it was one Bahar Jalali, a former faculty member of the American University of Afghanistan, who started the trend by tweeting a picture of a woman in a black robe and veil, writing: ‘There has never been an Afghan woman dressed like this. This is foreign and alien to Afghan culture. I posted my photo in traditional Afghan clothing so the public could be informed, educated and dispelled false information’.

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Other Afghan women followed suit, taking photos of themselves and sharing them with the world to show what Afghan culture is really like. Globally, the state of women in Afghanistan has been a cause of concern since the Taliban took over last month. Group members are notorious for their draconian conditions and laws, which encourage lashing, beating, threatening and murdering women who, in their view, stray from ‘Islamic law’.

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