The women of Afghanistan are all against the strict new dress code set by the Taliban for female students. So, they have started an online campaign to protest against it. Afghan women all around the world are sharing photos of themselves wearing colorful traditional dresses. This is a part of their social media fightback against the Taliban and its hardline laws for women. The photos which were shared had the hashtags like #DoNotTouchMyClothes and #AfghanCulture. It was done to emphasize the fact that the traditional Afghan clothes are far better than the conservative dress code that the Taliban has mandated for women students.
When the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, they announced a new dress code for women in college and private universities. Local news website Gandhara reported that a document was issued by the Taliban-run Education Ministry on 5th September. It said that women, students, teachers, and staff must wear an abaya and niqab at all times. The main objective was to cover the hair, body, and most of the face. The clothes must be black in color and the women must also wear gloves which would cover their hands.
There was a demonstration organized by the Taliban at Kabul University. There, over 300 Afghan women stood wearing all-black garments that covered their faces. They even announced that they supported the group and its decision to exclude women from high-ranking government positions. The #DoNotTouchMyClothes campaign emerged as a response to this particular announcement. Dr. Bahar Jalali is a former history professor at the American University in Afghanistan. She is also a founder of this campaign. This person told the BBC, “I wanted to inform the world the attires that you have been seeing in the media [referring to those worn by women at the pro-Taliban rally] that’s not our culture, that’s not our identity.” Ms. Jalali shared a picture of herself in a green outfit on Twitter and wrote below: “This is Afghan culture. I am wearing a traditional Afghan dress. #AfghanistanCulture.” Hundreds of Afghan women have joined the campaign to protest against the Taliban’s policies.
One Afghan woman wrote on Twitter, “A campaign worth supporting! I am joining my fellow Afghan women who have started an online campaign to condemn the Taliban’s dress code! We are proud of our traditional Afghan outfit! #DoNotTouchMyClothes #AfghanistanCulture #afghanistanwomen @WEIForward.” Another said, “I join #WomenOfAfghanistan in the #DoNotTouchMyClothes campaign. While I will always support a woman’s choice in attire, including the niqab, I agree that dressing in black from head to toe is not #AfghanistanCulture. Our clothes are vibrant, colorful, and rich.” Peymana Assad, who is the first person of Afghan origin to be elected to public office in the UK also took part in the campaign.