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Bacha Posh: girl inside, boy outside
2018

In all-girls Afghan families, young girls are called "Bacha Posh" when they are transformed into boys and raised as such until puberty.

In Afghanistan, it is a widespread practice for families that only give birth to girls to choose to raise one of them as a boy, to enable her to enjoy the benefits reserved for men. We call "Bacha Posh" these young girls who adopt masculine clothes, first names and hairstyle. Thus transformed, they can go freely and provide for their families, where their less fortunate sisters are confined to a domestic and family space and cannot leave their homes without a male escort.

Indeed, in this patriarchal society where women's fundamental rights are permanently violated, girls are often a burden to their parents, for whom the birth of a boy is a token of respect and financial security, considering that men alone are able to protect their families. “Everyone wishes to have a boy," says Loulou d'Aki. The use of the "Bacha Posh" is therefore a last resort - the practice is condemned by the religious authorities, but public opinion shows a relative indulgence towards it. This tolerance ends at puberty, when the biological sex of the adolescent becomes difficult to ignore behind the male clothes.

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