Afghanistan’s Next Top Model

From Bitchery reader Muguet comes this link that blew my mind on many different levels. A liberal city in Afghanistan has a television network running an Afghani version of “…Next Top Model,” and it’s causing no small amount of uproar. Despite the overthrow of the Taliban several years ago, Afghanistan is still very traditional, and most women go about in a burqa when in public. So women’s faces, even while wearing baggy pants and loose tunics, is an outrage to some. Threats of punishment for the contestants and the creators have already been made.

But even within the sad familiarity of that story are some bits that really dropped my jaw. The director of the show? 18 years old. The contestants? Wouldn’t meet the eyes or look up at any of the male crew on set. But those contestants that came even after being alerted that international media would be present were adamant that they wanted a different view of Afghani women to reach the rest of the world.

Putting aside the question of whether a show that judges contestants based on physical beauty and ability to wear clothing is a good thing for a country just out from under an oppressive religious rule, those are some brave, brave women. And they’re right – they are beautiful. And kickass – which is even better.

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  1. 1
    lisabea says:

    I hate the concept of next top model in our own culture, let alone one for a society where most woman are barred from the simple freedoms that we enjoy daily. But they are beautiful in their defiance. Rock on ladies.  I just hope that this 18 year old director can keep them safe when the shit hits the fan.

    Man, the comments following this article are frightening.

  2. 2
    Ann Aguirre says:

    The comments turned my stomach.

  3. 3
    Chrissy says:

    Any woman who does this is literally risking not only her own life but the lives of her family.

    I’m not sure how I feel about it, but it takes guts.

  4. 4

    The Taliban is still around and Afghanistan is largely still an ungoverned state. However I feel about the show itself, those women are either very brave or incredibly naive. I hope it doesn’t get them or their families killed…

  5. 5
    Shaunee says:

    Heard a story on Good Morning America this morning about Afgani women who are learning to box so they can compete internationally.  I suppose at the Olympics.  There was a clip and one of the young women wore a burqa over her boxing shorts.  Still, it’s progress.

  6. 6
    Gwendy says:

    Today being John Lennon’s birthday and reading this posting made me remember Lennon’s song, “Woman Is The N****r Of The World”. Not a song many people know and not one of his most lyrically sophisticated creations. But it still makes its point and packs plenty of energy and anger. And most importantly, its still true.

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