FYI: The editor’s note bills this as part of a series ‘covering gender inequality wherever it occurs in the world’.
CNN caught wind of a story where a kid’s parents made a unilateral decision to force their daughter to live as though she was their son. In fact, it’s a cultural practice so common that it even has a name in Afghanistan: “bacha posh,” a Dari term that translates to “dressed as a boy.”
You see, they have seven daughters, and in that culture, a family is considered ‘incomplete’ if it lacks a son. So mom and dad end up picking one of their girls to live as though she were a boy.
Until the age of two, Mangal was Madina, one of seven daughters chosen by her parents to live as a boy…
For as long as Mangal can remember, he tucks his long hair under a woolen cap, pulls on his jacket and trousers and helps his father tend their wheat and dairy farm in the snow-capped village of Sanjoor, in Herat province.
Girls are brought up believing they are a burden on the family, said Sodaba Ehrari, Chief Editor of the Afghanistan Women News Agency (AWNA), who has interviewed several parents of bacha posh children. Women “cannot earn money to support their families, they cannot live alone — and so many reasons (like this) lead them in this patriarchal society to practice bacha posh,” she said.
The centuries-old tradition says much about the discrimination faced by Afghan girls quite literally from the moment they’re born. After all, “no one who has only sons is transforming them into a daughter,” Hashimi says.
The transition is temporary, and bacha posh children are expected to shed their male identities once they hit puberty and return to living as girls — something that doesn’t always come easily.
CNN has the benefit of a ‘detached observer status’ in reporting this story. They don’t have any connection to the culture, or obligation to explain away as ‘acceptable’ or ‘normal’ something they see as objectively unfair or wrong.
They don’t suffer from the blind spots one would have of criticizing, for example, parallel problems with their own culture here in America.
It’s fair game for CNN to object to a girl in Afghanistan being made to live as a boy until puberty.
But what about children — some of them preschoolers — being raised as their opposite gender in the name of ‘tolerance’?
Especially the children who just ‘happen’ to come out as ‘trans’ while being raised by parents who are open activists of gender-fluidity. Here’s one example among many we’ve covered over the years:
Would the editors of this same CNN series see red flags of warning or rainbow flags to cheer on in what was reported in this one school:
It’s really easy to ‘speak truth to power’ when you’re attacking some other culture’s sacred cows. It’s quite another matter to face the ones in your own backyard.
Especially when every ‘heretical’ dissenting voice gets summarily exiled from the digital public square.
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by Doug Giles
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