Transcript: 100 Years of Beauty in Afghanistan
We made a quick overview of what 100 years of beauty in Afghanistan looks like. Thank you to @avizeh for making the original video that this post was based off of. Click here to watch.
Afghan women dressed in traditional attire with jewelry after King Durrani emphasized their status in society. Before marriage, young women got facial tattoos (Khaal) which was considered a sign of beauty.
Soraya (Wife of King Amanullah Khan) was known for her fashion. The French describe her appearance from one of her visits in the following passage: “the evening gowns she wore to state dinner left her shoulders bare, and the little veil she was wearing now, covering only the lower half of her face, was just a film of transparent gauze…simultaneously exotic and sophisticated, modern and mysterious.
Before 1959, women were required to wear chadari (veil). That changed in the 60’s when the stigma around traditional and kept women was broken. This gave women many opportunities, allowing them to be delegates, students, and airline hostess. Women freely walked around in western fashion.
In the 70’s, the Civil War broke out and many women were violated and killed. Women during this time slowly moved away from the Western influenced fashion. The constant mistreatment of women during this time birthed a women’s right organization called Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). They fought for the equality of women and involvement in society
During Taliban era , Afghan women were deprived of their rights and forced to wear chadari (veil) in public. There were many instances where women were beaten or even killed because their ankle showed or because they did not wear their chadari properly. It was strongly enforced and created an era where fashion was almost non-existent.
During the 2000’s, Afghanistan became better established in international affairs. The heavy westernization influenced women’s fashion and lifestyle which sparked a new era of accepted “beauty”.
This year brought constitutional changes that guaranteed equal rights/duties for women and even reserved seats for them in the national assembly. Business professional attire became the norm and widely accepted in women’s fashion.
With more freedom, Afghan women started to dress freely and to their choice. Many broke the stigma around working women and being in the media. Many activists continue to break gender roles and help to better the future for Afghan women.
Unfortunately we could not condense every aspect of Afghan Beauty in this one post. This post is not meant to exclude or offend any particular form of Afghan Fashion found in various regions of Afghanistan. The drawings depict popular fashion trends in many Urban regions of Afghanistan such as Kabul. We based this post off of a video created by @avizeh that can be found on YouTube – 100 years of Beauty: Afghanistan
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Blog post and drawings by @sabrinayasamine.