by Jenny Nordberg - £8.99 Little, Brown Book Group (2015)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781844087754 | ISBN 10: 1844087751
Uncovers the hidden true story of the age-old tradition of 'Bacha Posh' - girls masquerading as boys - in a society that does not value females.
An Afghan woman's life expectancy is just 44 years, and her life cycle often begins and ends in disappointment: being born a girl and finally, having a daughter of her own. For some, disguising themselves as boys is the only way to get ahead.
Nordberg follows women such as Azita Rafaat, a parliamentarian who once lived as a Bacha Posh, the mother of seven-year-old Mehran, who she is raising as a Bacha Posh as well, but for different reasons than in the past. There's Zahra, a teenage student living as a boy who is about to display signs of womanhood as she enters puberty. And Skukria, a hospital nurse who remained in a Bacha Posh disguise until she was twenty, and who now has three children of her own.
Exploring the historical roots of this tradition, The Underground Girls of Kabul is a fascinating and moving investigation.
(Price & availability last checked: June 2015)
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In booklists: Afghanistan, Gender and Gender Theory, In categories: World - Asia, Feminism & Women, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexuality & Transgender, Men & Masculinity,