Yalda Afsah + Ginan Seidl
PYLON is proud to screen the duo-channel video 'Bacha Posh' by Yalda Afsah in collaboration with Ginan Seidl.
'Bacha Posh' focuses on the Afghan tradition of dressing girls as boys in order for them to be able to fulfil the function of a male family member. Framed by atmospheric shots of urban landscapes in Mazar-e-Sharif, Bacha Posh follows the life of 13-year-old Farahnaz, adding unexpected perspectives to the discourse around the social construction of gender. The two video channels of the work contrast the private and the public, interior and exterior spheres.
'Bacha Posh' was created in 2016, when the Taliban takeover was only an imminent threat and not yet a sad reality, as it has been since 2021. Since then, over a year ago, when the Taliban entered Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul and took control of the country, girls' and women's freedom and rights have been almost completely restricted:
Over the past 12 months, human rights violations against women and girls have mounted steadily. Despite initial promises that women would be allowed to exercise their rights within Sharia law - including the right to work and to study - the Taliban has systematically excluded women and girls from public life.
Women hold no cabinet positions in the de facto administration, which has also abolished the Ministry of Women’s Affairs -effectively eliminating women’s right to political participation. The Taliban has also banned girls from attending school past the sixth grade and barred women from working most jobs outside the home.
Restrictions on women’s movement and bodies continue to escalate. In May, the Taliban decreed that women must cover their faces in public and instructed them to remain in their homes except in cases of necessity. Women are banned from travelling long distances without a male chaperone, and unchaperoned women are increasingly being denied access to essential services.
Stripped of their rights, under constant threat of violence, Afghan women and girls are relentlessly carrying on with their lives. For some, that means forming new civil society groups to address community needs; for others, it means re-opening their businesses and going back to work. For all, it is an act of unseen, unheard bravery.
(unwomen.org - linked below)
The screening is supported by Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen*.
Gefördert durch die Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen. Diese Maßnahme wird mitfinanziert durch Steuermittel auf der Grundlage des vom Sächsischen Landtag beschlossenen Haushaltes.
Farahnaz is 13 years old and was raised as a “Bacha Posh” in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. According to this cultural practice, kids considered as girls are dressed as boys from their birth or a young age, and raised in this social “function”. Farahnaz consciously lives with the freedoms and duties of a boy in a society dominated by patriarchal traditions – from playing football to doing the groceries for the sister who is a single parent. The two-channel film tells Farahnaz’ story and everyday life before the Taliban takeover.
The multifaceted documentary dates back to 2016, before the seizure of power by the Taliban in Afghanistan last year.