Kabul- 13 years after the Taliban rule women in Afghanistan still face oppression and abuse. Fashion shows are always known for their glitz and glamour but Afghan female models risk their reputation if not their life for walking down the catwalk.
“I want to go forward in my life and break the silence here” said Tayeeba Bakshi. She is 23 year old model who made her rare modelling debut in the afghan capital last week; she was among twenty model who showcased colourful traditional design from different parts of Afghanistan.
But these are low key affairs in a conservative muslim society where the idea of women on public display is strictly taboo.
Tayeeb also said “I expected negative comments from ordinary people but criticism came from the educated people who I thought would support me , from my classmates, my professors .There was also some negative feedback from many women who said that we are destroying their dignity.”
Following the show some menacing post appeared on the social media sites with statements like “Our women are being exploited in the name of clothing. May god punish these people.”
Fearing physical attacks many female models cancelled their attendance at last minute. The organizing committee Seven Leaves of art foundation which promotes afghan culture faced major security problem due to Taliban militants targeting public gathering. Fashion shows are often forced to be conducted underground or in private home where entry is by invitation only.
As Najeeb T a fashion designer discovered it can also be struggle to find a suitable design. “we have to borrow most of the cloths from friends “ said Najeeb. But this not the case in 1960’s when Kabul hotel hold fashion shows that could have been taken place in any western fashion capital.
A research shows that 9 out of 10 Afghan women face physical , sexual or psychological violence, or are forced into marriage.These cases are majorly committed by the people they trust and love- their family.
Tayeeba is determined to help modelling regain a foothold in her country. “ Many others don’t believe in me but I believe in myself. I want to accomplish something
Bhaskar is a Staff-writer at NewsGram and has done his graduation in Journalism from Amity University.