To the root | The oppression of women under the Taliban: goodbye to beauty salons


“The Taliban want to make women invisible,” reads a banner that stands out among thousands of women in collective struggle. Sad but true…

The recent return of this regime to the Asian country has raised concerns about human rights. They have not only closed most of the girls’ schools, banned them from going to university and restricted their access to public places. It’s already world news: Now, the Taliban issued an order to close beauty salons for women in Afghanistan.

Gradual progress had been seen in recent years: women had access to education, work and the right to express themselves more freely. His face and hair could be seen in public. However, in the face of other cultures, on that side of the hemisphere the steps are now taken backwards.

Under the veil: the loss of women’s freedom under the Taliban regime

Afghan woman in closure of beauty salons
Ziba is 20 years old and has overcome many obstacles to establish a successful small business. At her beauty salon, called Golh Bahar, she Ziba put on makeup every day before starting work. Credit: Sipa/Shutterstock.

After the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001, the women saw an opportunity, a new beginning. Beauty salons opened in Kabul and other Afghan cities in the hope of better times. And so it was until a few days ago.

Everything we worked for, everything we believed in, is disappearing before our eyes.

Muska Dastageer, professor of peace and conflict resolution, political theory, and gender studies at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul.

In 2021, the political-religious movement in question took power again and, despite the fact that salons were required by law to keep their windows covered to prevent clients from being seen from the streets, now these spaces ––which were much more than make-up and hair under the scissors–– have been prohibited.

Although parks, gyms and other places are restricted for them, beauty salons became an escape from the repressive routine, where conversations between friends were safe and new people could be interacted with. Plus, get basic services like a haircut and other cosmetic treatments like a manicure, they will no longer be a part of your daily life.

The new imposition by the power of the Taliban goes beyond the mental health and well-being of women, but also negatively impacts their autonomy and self-expression. The restrictions also affect their economy and, for them, the entrepreneurial sense is now more than limited.

Hair as a form of expression

Afghan women in burkas demanding their rights
Afghan women demonstrate with messages of non-discrimination after the return of the Taliban government, which prohibits them from showing their hair and faces. Credit: STRINGER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock.

Since the return of the Taliban to Afghanistan, women have been required to cover their hair in public. With a hopeless air, the burkas returned to be their main clothing. This requirement is based on the interpretation of Islamic modesty, which holds that women should cover both their hair and face to avoid undue attention from men outside of them.

In the face of the UN and different cultures around the world, this extreme policy weakens the fundamental principles of equality and freedom.

The poorest and most backward societies are always the ones that look down on women…

Isabel Allende, acclaimed Chilean writer.

Hair is one of the most beautiful ways to express ourselves. It is a tool that, by right, we have to experiment, define ourselves, reinvent ourselves and reinforce our self-esteem. The freedom to choose a haircut, color or hairstyle is an essential element of autonomy. Restricting it not only decreases confidence, but also creates a limiting and offending self-concept, which goes against the feminine power and potential that the world needs to survive.

The post To the root | The oppression of women under the Taliban: goodbye to beauty salons appeared first on All Things Hair Mexico.


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