‘Do Not Touch My Clothes’ Trends As Afghan Women Stand Up Against Taliban Dress Code
Afghan women are standing up against strict Taliban imposed dress codes by sharing pictures of themselves wearing traditional clothing.
Women of all ages and backgrounds have been taking to Twitter with photos of themselves wearing bright, colourful clothing in a variety of styles, materials and patterns; finished off with intricate details or tiny mirrors.
This online campaign was started by Dr. Bahar Jalali, a historian who founded the very first Gender Studies program in Afghanistan, sparking the hashtags #DoNotTouchMyClothes and #AfghanistanCulture.
Sharing a pic of herself as a teenager, Dr. Jalali wrote that Afghan women ‘will not let our culture to be appropriated by those who want to erase us’, a sentiment shared by many others who feel the black, full-body burqa isn’t representative of what Muslim women living in Afghanistan have traditionally worn.
On September 12, the Taliban’s new Higher Education minister, Abdul Baqi Haqqani, stated that although women will still be allowed to attend university, there will be gender segregation and mandatory Islamic dress code.
As reported by Reuters, Haqqani stated that all female students must wear hijab religious veils, however he did not specify whether this meant headscarves or mandatory face coverings.
The announcement was made one day after a group of female Taliban supporters demonstrated outside of Kabul’s Shaheed Rabbani Education University, clothed in black niqabs and waving small Taliban flags.
Challenging the narrative of what the Taliban believe Afghan women should look like, the clothing worn by those sharing the hashtag #DoNotTouchMyClothes shows how such clothes vary between regions and ethnicities, with there being no one way for an Afghan woman to dress.
One woman tweeted:
This is how we #AfghanWomen dress. Some of us wear traditional clothes, some westernized, some wear hijab and some dress modestly but niqab hijab is forced by the Taliban, niqab hijab is not our dress code.
Love seeing how Afghan women are showing our beautiful and colourful attire, I want to join! I feel prettiest in my Afghan clothing. We have our own culture and we will not allow anyone to erase it.
Speaking with BBC News, Dr. Jalali explained that she had been started the campaign due to concern over ‘Afghanistan’s identity and sovereignty’ being ‘under attack’, and had wanted to show the world ‘the true face of Afghanistan’.
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