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The Underground Girls of Kabul

            Within the context of Jenny Nordberg's novel, "The Underground Girls of Kabul," she interviews girls in Afghanistan posing as boys. This novel describes several case studies of women from different social classes and age. Jenny Nordberg interviews many women but focuses mostly on a tomboy teen Zahra, a married mother Shukria, and Nader who remains in male disguise into adulthood. Nordberg's main message throughout this novel is that in Afghanistan women are disguised as men, called bacha posh because they do not have the same freedom as men.
             Over the course of five years, Jenny Nordberg discovers that some families disguise their girls as boys. The families are fuelled by a desperation for sons. In an Afghanistan family having all girls and no boys is considered shameful, "Having at least one son is mandatory for good standing and reputation here. A family is not only incomplete without one; in a country lacking rule of law, it is also seen as weak and vulnerable," says Azita (Nordberg 13). A son is necessary to protect a family and their future. Azita is a middle-class mother of four daughters. Her fourth daughter, Mehran, is a bacha posh. Azita wants to give her daughter the freedom to play sports, have open communication, and other activities that young boys can enjoy. Women living Afghanistan are not given the same amount of freedom as men, "As a woman, you must shrink both your physical body and any energy that surrounds it, in speech, movement, and gaze" (Nordberg 101). The stereotype of men and women is very real in Afghanistan. Women are perceived as the weaker and more vulnerable gender, while men are perceived as more animalistic. Many women in Afghanistan will do anything to have a son. Home remedies such as meditating or eating certain foods. Nordberg also interviews teenage bacha posh Zahra who wishes to remain a boy. Zahra says to her mother, "No! I will not get married.

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