She often cannot leave the house without an escort. You reported this book from Afghanistan and worked closely with its subjects. Aside from the psychological conundrum, those who are nurtured as boys and young men though their teens and beyond can see a delay in the development of female identity and even the onset of puberty. Most bacha posh are forced to become girls before they hit puberty, sometimes after living their whole lives as boys. Did you become friends with the women you interviewed for the book? In return, I have also shared some of my secrets with them. Bacha posh really is a unique, current-day nurture versus nature experiment.
Why are girls disguised as boys in Afghanistan? We read it together, and for those who could not read, I read out loud. It affords a girl freedom of movement; for some that means a chance to go to school, for others the ability to work and support their families. But for those who go through puberty and beyond as young men, things quickly become much more complicated. Each of these very brave women made a conscious choice to be part of this book, and I have tried to honor that by offering a lot of transparency about my work. In return, I have also shared some of my secrets with them. In every case, it allows her to see and experience things most girls and young women in Afghanistan never do. The good side of it is that Afghans are extremely polite and hospitable, and that there is very little time for indecision or procrastination; interactions are much more immediate. From the moment she is born, an Afghan girl has very few rights and little control over her own life. With the constant presence of potential disaster, life takes sharper contours. To research and write this book, you spend a great deal of time in Afghanistan over the past few years. My research, based on interviews with dozens of bacha posh, shows that the impact on adult females depends very much on when their transition back to the female gender takes place. It also cuts right into the most difficult questions of human existence: You reported this book from Afghanistan and worked closely with its subjects. She often cannot leave the house without an escort. In Afghanistan, men make most of the decisions and women and girls hold very little value. This is the story of a lifetime. She must guard her behavior and appear modest at all times. For instance, when I had a somewhat finished book manuscript in the summer of , I went back to Kabul to see each of them again. But I believe you can be a professional and a human being at the same time. A few years as a boy when they were children may be remembered as an empowering experience. Did you become friends with the women you interviewed for the book? Writing a full-length book gave me the space to go much more in-depth on this issue and to try to understand why that is. Aside from the psychological conundrum, those who are nurtured as boys and young men though their teens and beyond can see a delay in the development of female identity and even the onset of puberty. What was it like?
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