The Underground Girls of Kabul In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan An investigative journalist uncovers a hidden custom that will transform your understanding of what it means to grow up as a girlIn Afghanistan a culture ruled almost entirely by men the birth of a

  • Title: The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan
  • Author: Jenny Nordberg
  • ISBN: 9780307952509
  • Page: 111
  • Format: Paperback
  • An investigative journalist uncovers a hidden custom that will transform your understanding of what it means to grow up as a girlIn Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune A bacha posh literally translated from Dari as dressed up like a boy is a thirdAn investigative journalist uncovers a hidden custom that will transform your understanding of what it means to grow up as a girlIn Afghanistan, a culture ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as misfortune A bacha posh literally translated from Dari as dressed up like a boy is a third kind of child a girl temporarily raised as a boy and presented as such to the outside world Jenny Nordberg, the reporter who broke the story of this phenomenon for the New York Times, constructs a powerful and moving account of those secretly living on the other side of a deeply segregated society where women have almost no rights and little freedom The Underground Girls of Kabul is anchored by vivid characters who bring this remarkable story to life Azita, a female parliamentarian who sees no other choice but to turn her fourth daughter Mehran into a boy Zahra, the tomboy teenager who struggles with puberty and refuses her parents attempts to turn her back into a girl Shukria, now a married mother of three after living for twenty years as a man and Nader, who prays with Shahed, the undercover female police officer, as they both remain in male disguise as adults At the heart of this emotional narrative is a new perspective on the extreme sacrifices of Afghan women and girls against the violent backdrop of America s longest war Divided into four parts, the book follows those born as the unwanted sex in Afghanistan, but who live as the socially favored gender through childhood and puberty, only to later be forced into marriage and childbirth The Underground Girls of Kabul charts their dramatic life cycles, while examining our own history and the parallels to subversive actions of people who live under oppression everywhere.From the Hardcover edition.

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    One thought on “The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan”

    1. An amazing book club discussion book that had our group deep in discussion for 2 hours in which all the members contributed to one of the most passionate discussions our group has ever held.I kept thinking as we all sat around the table discussing Afghan culture and Western culture. What if 12 Afghanistan ladies sat around a table discussing western culture what their thoughts would be on our lives and traditions.I had actually rated this book 3 stars until we had our discussion and upped the ra [...]

    2. Onvan : The Underground Girls of Kabul - Nevisande : Jenny Nordberg - ISBN : 307952495 - ISBN13 : 9780307952493 - Dar 350 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2014

    3. I've just read this. i have to review it. It's tremendously powerful and despite it's title covers a lot of Europe too, mainly Muslim countries but not entirely. It's main message is Women are Unacceptable. Women are the lowest of the low. Women are such trash you can do anything to them you (male) want to. And that the only way out of it is to be a Man, even an imitiation one. Then providing you are willing to give up marriage and children, you can be free and you can do anything at all you wan [...]

    4. The story is basically that of survival of a girl in Afghanistan - seemingly one of the worst places to be born a woman. Afghanistan is a country where the birth of a son is heralded as one of good luck and where the birth of a daughter is one of misfortune. The daughter would not be a problem if there are sons but if it is only a family of girls it is not just the child that is unlucky, the mother is considered unfortunate and a disgrace and even the husband is pitied. In this story, even very [...]

    5. “We are who we must be.” In The Underground Girls of Kabul, Swedish journalist Jenny Nordberg reveals a hidden practice in Afghanistan of presenting young girls as boys for part, or all, of their childhood. In an oppressive patriarchal society that demands sons at almost any cost, these girls are known as bacha posh."[I] have met girls who have been boys because the family needed another income through a child who worked; because the road to school was dangerous and a boy’s disguise provid [...]

    6. A few years ago, I sat in a Swedish classroom with other foreigners all studying Swedish. We came from a variety of backgrounds and were given an assignment to give a presentation in Swedish about a famous person from our home country. One young woman, who often brought her small baby to class (in those fantastic Swedish prams that have never become popular in the United States), began her presentation about her home country, Afghanistan. As she explained to the class, illiteracy was incredibly [...]

    7. Like many New York Times readers, I read Nordberg’s first article on girls disguised as boys in Afghanistan and was fascinated. It’s a topic that deserved a book, and fortunately Nordberg went deeper and wrote one.This book relates many stories of girls disguised as boys, and women disguised as men. Sometimes changing a girl to a boy is done to raise the family’s social standing, as both fathers and mothers are looked down upon for not producing sons. Sometimes it’s done for practical re [...]

    8. I won this book from a Giveaway! What an amazing, revealing, educational piece of work!! Afghanistan's history, culture and traditions are explained in detail. Yes, we know that women are their husbands' property. We know that there are neither rights nor freedoms for women in this middle eastern country. This book goes FAR BEYOND what the average Westerner thinks or believes about Afghanistan. The immediate focus of this book is the practice of bacha posh; allowing daughters to live as boys un [...]

    9. The oppression of women is worse than I understood. The beliefs described in this book are not easy to understand. But the author suggests the same beliefs prevail in men and women. While the book was important to understand different beliefs and ways to live, the author lost much of the attention with repetition.

    10. Disclaimer: ARC read via Netgalley. ARC did not have pictures. I requested this book because I read Nordberg’s original piece for the New York Times. In certain parts of the world, Afghanistan only being one, there is a strong emphasis put on the importance of sons. A woman’s only duty is to give birth to sons, or mostly sons. Women in these cultures are usually seen as less important, less valuable. However, there is a tradition, as Nordberg discovered, of taking a girl and transforming her [...]

    11. They dress like boys, act like boys and have the same rights as boys. A ”bacha posh” is a girl in Afghanistan that from an early age are brought up as a boy, and thereby changes her gender identity.The parents have many reasons for this. There's pressure to have sons, to give their daughters another perspective and self-confidence, and superstition - if a girl is dressed like a boy, the next baby will be a son. Regardless of the reason, these girls get more liberty. Until puberty.Azita, a po [...]

    12. “Yes, this is not normal for you . . . it’s very hard for you to believe why one mother is doing these things to her youngest daughter. But . . . some things are happening in Afghanistan that really are not imaginable for you as a Western people.” If you’ve read Nadia Hashimi's novel “The Pearl That Broke Its Shell” and found it captivating, or you have an interest in oppressive issues faced by Afghanistan women and children, then you will certainly want to add “The Underground Gir [...]

    13. While this is an incredibly powerful book about the lives of women in Afghanistan, The Underground Girls of Kabul is so much more than that. It's a story of defiance, resilience, and hope in a country that has been deemed "the worst place to be a woman".Nordberg tells the stories of bacha posh, women of Afghanistan who live their lives as men instead of women. I had no idea, prior to reading this book, that such even existed. This book not only explains the lives of bacha posh but also dives eve [...]

    14. An interesting look at gender issues and ways they are being fought in what the UN calls the world's worst country to be a woman. Boys are the only valued members of the families, and girls are expected to work towards the happiness of the men, stay in their homes, and bear sons. The problems with the aid pouring into the country are also discussed - how people sell the supposed relief food they receive for profit, and how the aid money pouring into the country largely isn't reaching its intende [...]

    15. In Afghanistan, there are girls who are raised as boys in order to bring their families prestige and luck. These girls are called bacha posh. Nordberg’s journalistic account of this phenomenon is straightforward and very informative. While I do have a problem with her logic in some cases, I commend Nordberg for bringing this issue to light.Bacha posh is both historical and present-day rejection of patriarchy by those who refuse to accept the ruling order for themselves or their daughters.Nordb [...]

    16. We in America and the western world have a tendency to think we know everything. We watch the news and read a few articles and consider ourselves experts in the way things work in the parts of the world most different from ours - the Muslim world, since 2001. This is very short-sighted of us.Jenny Nordberg's "The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan" is eye-opening in the extreme and should be read by anyone who has the slightest inclination to truly unders [...]

    17. The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Norberg is an excellent piece of investigative journalism. Ms. Nordberg based her book on interviews. She became aware of the not much talked about custom of girls dressing as boys. This is a country where men have all the privileges and rights, women are nothing. Women very rarely divorce their husbands because the children are the husband’s “property”. Why does this happen? After reading this book, you can on [...]

    18. When I grow up, I want to be an investigative journalist. It's hard not to admire the work of this author, spending time in a difficult place like Afghanistan and discovering a cultural practice (young girls passing for boys) that no other Westerner seems to have noticed. Nordberg does a good job setting up the historical and social context for this practice and telling the stories of these Afghan women and girls. Certainly this confirms how much gender is culturally constructed. And that's kind [...]

    19. This is a splendid, well-written piece of investigative journalism. The book had me literally shaking with anger as I read. The author, who is Swedish, embedded herself in Afghanistan for a number of years, getting to know some women there very well. She uncovered the surprising practice of parents choosing to present a daughter as a son until she reaches puberty. Why would they do this? The answers are complex and the author uses real people to illustrate her conclusions. In most cases, the fam [...]

    20. There is something fascinating about how gender roles vary across the world. Here in the US, women can be educated. We can own houses and businesses. We can spend our entire adult lives unmarried if we choose. But in many parts of the world none of these things are possible for women. Men have all the power. But as a bacha posh in Afghanistan, a girl can temporarily have the power granted to boys. For the women of Afghanistan, your worth is measured by the amount of boys you give birth to. After [...]

    21. In contemporary Afghanistan, parents sometimes opt to dress a daughter as a boy and present him as a son. This practice, known as "bacha posh," is found in a variety of countries in different time frames though at present it seems most common in the middle eastern context due to existing cultural strictures on gender roles. There are various reasons for this practice relating primarily to the pressure from society to have sons. An honorary son can perform tasks that a daughter is barred from doi [...]

    22. Visit my blog, sarahsbookshelves, for the full review:HeadlineThe Underground Girls of Kabul is an extremely readable, yet heart-breaking and eye-opening immersion in a culture that is brutal to women. It would also make a great choice for book clubs.What I Liked- This is one of those books where you learn a ton, but don’t realize it. I felt like I was just reading a story, but I might as well have been taking a course on life in Afghanistan (particularly for women), Islam, the Taliban, and th [...]

    23. This is a fascinating look into an interesting subculture in Afghanistan. There exist a number of girls who, for a variety of reasons, live as boys -- dress as boys, go by male names, play with the boys, etc. Jenny Nordberg has become the greatest expert on these people simply because she's the only person who knows anything about them. For her book she met with a number of these girls and interviewed them and their families. She records not only the results of her research but the sort of exper [...]

    24. I had never heard of bacha posh until a few months ago, and all I knew at that point was that a woman named Jenny Nordberg had written a book about them, which was available through the First Reads program, as well as an article for The New York Times back in 2010. Based on the First Reads blurb, I knew that the term had something to do with women and Afghanistan, so I assumed that bacha posh were an all-female brigade of resistance fighters who were subverting the Taliban in some way. Perhaps t [...]

    25. I read this book for a book group I participate in. I'm going to paste in here most of what I said in my initial reponse to the book group thread.I don't know exactly what I thought this book was going to be about. Usually I am a little more aware, and I usually look up the books we vote on before voting. But what I didn't know was about bacha posh.In a way, I suppose it is proof that humans will figure out whatever ways they can to survive in the circumstances they find themselves. That the wom [...]

    26. The idea that in communities or cultures with high suppression/oppression of women there will always be those who break out of that path by acting and dressing and presenting as male is SUPER fascinating. The idea that these individuals are common in cultures such as post-Islamic Republic Afghanistan is also super fascinating. This book explores the lives of these women, some who live as boys pre-puberty, some who try and maintain their freedoms thru young adulthood. The reasons why a parent or [...]

    27. Apua. Tän kirjan jälkeen päässä risteilee niin monta ajatusta, ajatusketjua ja keskustelunavausta, etten tiedä miten ne tiivistäisi suht lyhyeksi kirja-arvosteluksi. Yleistunnelma kirjasta oli varsin vaikuttunut. Se oli tutkivaa journalismia, rohkeaa ja valaisevaa faktaa, joka oli kirjoitettu niin taitavasti ja koukuttavasti, että draamankaaren olisi voinut ajatella olevan kaunokirjallista. Romaanina sen tietynlainen naiivius ja tapa selittää lähi-idän kulttuureita länkkärilasit si [...]

    28. After a chance mention introduces the author to the idea of girls who behave and are treated as boys, she spends several years trying to find instances of how this operates in modern Afghanistan. The reasons are pretty simple: boys are treated better than girls, have more freedom than girls, and give more status to their parents than girls. Everyone has some vested interest in having at least one boy child in their family. After observing and interviewing families where this is currently happeni [...]

    29. A compelling look at the pressure society places on families in Afghanistan to have boys. And how those families sometimes deal with having girls. The book takes a look at several girls and how they live out their lives.

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