Afghan women have started an online campaign using the hashtags #DoNotTouchMyClothes and #AfghanistanCulture to protest against the strict dress code that has been imposed on female students by the Taliban.
The online campaign started by Dr Bahar Jalali, a former history professor at the American University in Afghanistan, aims at reclaiming Afghanistan’s traditional clothes. Her worry is that the Taliban’s rules are an attack on Afghanistan’s culture and identity.
Taliban/Pakistan culture is profoundly different from Afghan culture. We are a country of colors, embellishments, adornments, patterns. We will not sit idle as our identity comes under assault & an attempt is made to erase us as a nation. #DoNotTouchMyClothes #AfghanistanCultureDr Bahar Jalali
The Taliban announced that female students will be able to study and work in accordance with sharia law and local cultural traditions, but strict dress rules will apply. Although it is unclear what these strict dress rules are, many people were grief-stricken when some women took to the streets in a pro-Taliban rally in which they dressed in all black burka, including hand coverings.
Per the BBC, women at the pro-Taliban rally could be 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 are now insisting that these black burkas are not their traditional Afghanistan attires. Traditional Afghan attires consist of clothes that are handmade with designs and perfect for twirling during the “Attan” or Afghanistan’s national dance. The designs which Afghan women wear are also dependent on the region of Afghanistan they come from.
In the past 20 years, women have worn these outfits or jeans and scarves draped over their heads, however, since the Taliban order, more women have taken to wearing the full mono-coloured burka.
Dr Bahar Jalali is urging more women to post pictures of themselves in their traditional attires on Twitter, to show “the true face of Afghanistan.”
We can find strength and solidarity even as we struggle with the forces of darkness. Fight back with your dresses, art, poetry, writings, music. Foreigners can’t touch our history & culture. #DoNotTouchMyClothes #AfghanistanCulture #CulturalResistanceDr Bahar Jalali
Blessing Iyamadiken is a media and marketing specialist with 4 years experience in the industry of digital marketing, publishing and advertising. She is also a feminist and very passionate about Gender Equality. In her spare time, she loves to read or binge on Netflix.