Life As An Honorary Man

“The men and women of one tribal village lived strictly separated, and when Carol was invited for tea in the women’s quarters, she was surprised to find a man living among them. The women called him “Uncle,” and he appeared to enjoy a special status in the village. The women served his tea and treated him with great respect. Uncle’s appearance was rugged, but he had a slightly softer face than the other men. It took a while, as well as a few helpful whispers, for Carol to understand that Uncle was actually an adult woman in a turban and men’s clothing.”

“In the small village, Uncle functioned as an intermediary between men and women, and served as an honorary male who could convey messages and escort other women when they needed to travel, posing no threat because she herself was a woman.”

“It was the local mullah’s doing, apparently: Uncle had been born as the seventh daughter in a family of no sons. As the spiritual leader of the village, the mullah had taken pity on the parents. So he simply designated the infant girl to be her parents’ son only hours after she was born.”

The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg

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