Research Post 3- The “Bachaposh” of Afghanistan

This is a documentary that looks at the “bachaposh” phenomena in Afghanistan. Various girls’ lives are depicted in this 26 minute clip of why these young girls dress as boys. Families need these girls to dress as boys because of economic reasons, honor, and freedom.

Although some of the girls in Afghanistan are not happy to be in this position, they are nonetheless in the position. To become a bachaposh, society must not be able to distinguish these girls as anything other than boys. The dangers that come with being a “bachaposh” are more than this documentary let on.

Often, these girls dress as boys to work among men and other boys as merchants, or other laborers. The taboo in Islam of dressing as a boy runs deep in Afghan society, and if discovered, great physical harm as well as shame can be brought upon the family and the girl choosing to be a boy.

Ultimately, the decision to become and or stay a “bachaposh” is done so through the family, as described in the video, some families only have daughters and it is considered unsafe and dishonorable to not have a son. Other families, need an extra worker to freely roam the streets and or work as a merchant in a family business. Other ‘bachaposh” have grown as boys and have enjoyed the freedom of being boys, unmitigated by social conventions to be proper or “lady like” and it is these freedoms that make turning back into a girl impossible.




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