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Land of the UnconquerableThe Lives of Contemporary Afghan Women$
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Jennifer Heath and Ashraf Zahedi

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520261853

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520261853.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 03 December 2021

Between Covered and Covert

Between Covered and Covert

Traditions, Stereotypes, and Afghan Women's Agency

(p.60) Chapter 2 Between Covered and Covert
Land of the Unconquerable

Margaret A. Mills

University of California Press

This chapter links the female trickster in Afghan oral tradition to women's agency with stories that are “weapons of the weak.” It specifically investigates the examples from women's personal experience narratives: interviews with women teachers, an activist's post-9/11 autobiographical narrative, and published quotations of women and girls from topically centered journalists' interviews. A folktale told in 1975 by “Madar Zaher” is presented. She is a twenty-nine-year-old married mother of five and accomplished woman storyteller in Herat. Madar Zaher relishes, and narratively embellishes upon, the idea of a young, affluent, smart, religiously observant, and sexually virtuous single woman head of a house hold, though no one in her own prior experience fits that description. Features of the clandestine girls' schools are then reported. Suicide has become an all-too-frequent option for young Afghan women faced with impossible situations, especially disastrous marriages.

Keywords:   female trickster, women's agency, Madar Zaher, clandestine girls' schools, Afghan women

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