Simone Borile

POSH BAZI, GIRLS WHO BECOME BOYS. SOCIO-CULTURAL PROCESSES OF GENDER IDENTITY CONVERSION AND MASCULINISATION

ABSTRACT. In Afghan culture, one of a married couple’s roles is to bear male offspring. This is a cultural and social obligation in which failure to bear a son can represent a dangerous loss of social and family honour. To preserve their respectable social image, parents sometimes begin a sexual identity conversion process of a daughter that leads to a destructuring of her female gender identity, transforming her into a male. This tradition leads to the abandonment of a girls’ female nature and leads the new “son” to experience civil and social rights that she would never have known had she continued to live as a female. This elevation of social status leads the new son to behave and have life experiences and social obligations that are very difficult to give up in adulthood. This social interpretation is limited in time because Pashtun culture requires the son to return to being a female and fulfil her cultural obligations of marriage, giving up the male freedoms and expressions that she had known and experienced as an adolescent.

Keywords. Culture, violence, gender destructuring, woman, rights

 

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