Although both men and women in Afghanistan faced ordeals and hardships, women fared much worse. The rise of the Taliban oppressed women and deprived them of their rights and freedom. First of all, women were not permitted to step outside their house without a male relative alongside them. This became a serious problem because women who did not have a male figure in their household could not leave their house in the fear of being caught. For instance, Chalked Hussein’s book, A Thousand Splendid Suns, gave an account of the risks and consequences faced by a woman leaving ere house unaccompanied by a male kin.
Laic’s (protagonist) husband refused to accompany her to the orphanage where her daughter lived; so, Leila, having no other choice, tried to sneak out to see her daughter. Chalked described her experiences by saying, “Half the time, she never made it to the orphanage… She was spotted by the Taliban and riddled with questions” (Hussein, 285). It was as if the women were kept on a leash and controlled by their husbands first and then the Taliban men; in other words, these women were always subjugated to the demands of men.
Additionally, women were not allowed to talk to men who were not their kin; if a woman did do so, then she was badly beaten and forced to marry the individual (raw. Org). Women were forbidden from laughing or talking loudly in public; if they dared to do so, it also resulted in getting physically abused. One can say that the Taliban imprisoned females as if they were birds in a cage; they were practically imprisoned inside their homes with no scope of freedom or independence. Women had no connection to the outside world, since they could not leave their house without permission.
They were restricted from attending schools and even from having any sort of employment; moreover, women were denied health care. Schools for girls were closed down and women were beat and pushed out if they tried to go to work. Reducing women to mere objects, the minister of education in Afghanistan said, “It’s like having a flower or a rose. You water it and keep it at home for yourself, to look at and smell it. It [a woman] is not supposed to be taken out of the house to be smelled The plight of women, as stated by another Taliban leader, is that ‘there are only two places or Afghan women – in her husband’s house, and in the graveyard. (http:// www. Webster. Due). The Taliban dishonored women and looked down upon them, thinking they were weak, frail objects that deserved no freedom or voice. Also, women were deprived from medical attention because according to the Taliban, men were not allowed to treat or touch women who were not family. Women were restrained from working, but those who went behind the backs of the Taliban to heal and attend to other women did not have proper materials and machines to properly treat the ill. In Lattice’s autobiography, My Forbidden Face, Latvia and her mother were treated for their illnesses by a family friend who happened to be a doctor.
She wrote, “… He will come, on one condition: that Papa promises never to tell a soul” (Latvia, 75). Going against the Taliban had become a life or death situation for many due to the threats that came with dishonoring the Italian’s rules and regulations. Along with locking women inside their houses, the Taliban also banned leisurely activities such as music, movies, singing, and dancing. They succeeded in completely killing the souls of women and treating them like mere objects by diminishing all activities that ay be deemed enjoyable inside the house, and prohibiting them from leaving their houses freely.
Often times, people would hide their television sets inside their houses. In A Thousand Splendid Suns, a family buried their television and VS. set in their backyard, but every once in awhile, they unearthed it and watched movies with their lights out and the curtains drawn (Hussein, 270). While these regulations affected both men and women, they played a bigger role in subjugating women and took a huge toll on their lives by not only subjugating females to their husbands inside of the house but also to Taliban men outside f the house.
In other words, women were oppressed wherever they went and there was no relief or sense of independence and liberty. Furthermore, Afghan women were forced to hide themselves in a full body covering, called the Burma. Once used to protect the honor of a woman, it eventually became a prison guarded by the Taliban. Along with covering themselves, women were prohibited from wearing bright clothing under their Burma, letting their ankles show, using cosmetics, or wearing shoes that made noise when walking. In My Forbidden Face, Latvia wrote, “My nail polish, Corpora’s lipstick… We’ll have to pack this up and hide it in closets” (Latvia, 39).
The Taliban considered all these things impure and inappropriate for women to display. Latvia also described a time when she witnessed a group of women getting beat in public for wearing white shoes, which, according to the Taliban, were equivalent to stepping on the Italian’s flag. “… Without a word of explanation begin flogging these women… ‘ see blood dripping onto the women’s shoes” (Latvia, 51). Similarly, a woman walking in a park in Kabul in 1997 was stopped by a Taliban officer and forced to publicly apologize or be flogged for wearing thin socks under her Burma (raw. Org).
Tallies did not need a reason to humiliate and abuse women; they controlled each and every aspect of a woman’s life, from their attire to their actions. Moreover, the Taliban claimed to enforce these rules and regulations for the benefit of the women of Afghanistan; they justified it by claiming that these rules protected the honor of women. However, young Taliban officers went as far as forcing single women to marry them; the women, of course had no say in the matter as their families were threatened if they refused. After marriage, beating and torture were what these unfortunate women had to look forward to.
In Deborah Rodriguez memoir, Kabul Beauty School, even after the Taliban lost their power in Afghanistan, some traditions stayed. Rodriguez wrote, ‘”Calm him down! ‘ she said. ‘Get someone to explain it to him or he’ll beat her… He’s Taliban'” (Rodriguez, 151). Furthermore, the Taliban raped and stripped women of their dignity without a second thought. In My Forbidden Face, after three young girls came for help to Lattice’s house, her mother told her, “Some tallies captured them, a band of about fifteen men. They raped them. All fifteen men… They mutilated their genitals.
They tore them” (Latvia, 69). Also, on 11th August 1998 in All Chapin locality in the Mazda-e-Shari Province, three Taliban men entered a house to conduct search. They raped two young girls in front of their mother and told her they would kill her husband and son in jail if she told anyone of this incident (raw. Org). Women were helpless and could not do anything without being accused of treachery. In her poem, Legitimizing Inequality, Meghan, an Afghan woman wrote, “They/ betray us by twisting our nature to use against us, / hen call us Nazis. Nasty. Unclean. (Meghan, 15-17). This demonstrates that the Taliban raped and stripped women of their pride and dignity, then blamed them for luring them into their traps. This is also why the Taliban banned cosmetics and heels, which they considered impure and alluring objects. While women were supposed to be protected by these numerous rules and regulations, the Taliban took advantage of their vulnerability and went against the entire purpose of these strict laws. In conclusion, the Taliban victimized women and afflicted them with pain and discomfort on a daily basis.
Although they are not in complete power of Afghanistan as of now, their influence is still apparent in women’s lives. In an interview with a woman soccer player, Soothsay Maze Racquet, she stated “Someone called my home number. He promised to kill me if I continued to play. Changed my number but I’m still scared” (cobwebs. Com). Compared to the time when the Taliban had full power, these Afghan women have much more freedom to do as they please, but they still have many restrictions and issues to deal with.