Taliban Women Motives for Female Repression Essay

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Taliban Women

Motives for Female Repression

The Taliban's mistreatment and outright abuse -- even torture -- of women is not really a matter of debate: the cases of both officially and socially sanctioned abuse are far too numerous and egregious to be denied. What is less clear, however, are the motives behind the abuses that women experience in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Many if not most of the abuses are carried out, like the bulk of the Taliban's social policy, in the name of adherence to Islamic law, a claim that will be examined in greater detail shortly. Even without any deep examination of this claim, however, it can be easily observed that many nations that are predominantly Muslim, and even many Islamic states that also claim to structure their government and society in a manner in keeping with fundamental Islamic concepts, do not have the same levels of abuse against women as what is seen in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, already casting doubt on the Taliban's religious reliance.

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If not because of their religion, then, why are women targeted for such special abuse and extreme control under the Taliban regime? Several major theories have been put forward on this issue, and it is more than likely that there is some truth in most of these theories, even if it is not directly observable at first blush. Some foreign observers, for instance, have put the practices down to the fact that many individuals in Afghanistan are simply "old fashioned," and are continuing practices that -- despite their atrocity -- have been taking place for centuries (Sengupta, web). The many long-term and inter-generational disruptions in the cycle of female abuse and oppression that occurred in past decades initially casts a fair degree of doubt on this claim; most of the men in Afghanistan did not grow up in a world where women were denied responsibilities and freedoms (Goodwin, web).

Essay on Taliban Women Motives for Female Repression the Assignment

On the other hand, the view that the abuse of women is in some ways the perpetuation of tradition is not wholly without merit. Regardless of the precise origins of repressive views and actions towards women, they have undoubtedly existed in many forms and in many cultures for millennia, including in the Afghanistan region and under many (though far from all) Islamic governments. Tribal customs in the area that existed largely unchanged until the arrival of the Soviets in 1979 clearly delineated different roles for women and men, and though these roles were not as oppressive as the Taliban's current rules and standards for the women of Afghanistan -- and indeed, for all Islamic women according to the regime -- there was certainly not any real equality in existence between the genders (Skaine, 9-13). Current abuses can in some ways be seen as an outgrowth of these traditions.

Even though gender inequalities are traditional, however, they cannot in and of themselves explain the targeting of women for such extreme violence and control in the Taliban regime. It has been suggested that the disruptions to afghani culture and sovereignty, first by the Soviets and then by the United States, has had a backlash effect, and now that Afghanis are ostensibly back in control of their own society and government they have moved to far harsher extremes of the traditional inequalities (Skaine). According to this thinking, the violence towards women is in many ways an assertion of Afghanistan's independence, and the lack of any foreign power's right to direct behavior or determine the moralistic standing of any action within Afghanistan's borders. The release of Afghanistan's repression, that is, has caused a reactionary internal repression.

This leads to yet another theory related explaining the onset of extreme violence towards and repression of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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