Examining the Narratives around Women’s Rights in Afghanistan

This paper discusses how the Western media has used the discourse around women’s rights to justify the US invasion of Afghanistan and how that has shaped concerns around the future of Afghan women today.

This paper will analyse how women in Afghanistan were presented prior to the 2001 war, what happened during the war, and what has been happening since. The paper will also try to explain the discriminative perception of Western feminism (white feminism) regarding women in the Middle East. First, the paper will explain the general history of women’s rights in Afghanistan, colonial feminism, ‘purplewashing’ and white feminism. It will also look at the imperialistic approach of the West and the idea of the white man/woman saving the brown man/woman. The paper will present speeches and texts published prior to the war that show politicians using the topics of women’s rights to gain the public’s sympathy and support. The paper will also offer a short analysis regarding the entertainment sector and how it played a role in making the 2001 invasion more palatable. The paper will also try to examine how, or indeed whether, the situation has improved for women since 2001. Moreover, it will examine the reasons behind the recent global outrage regarding the rights of Afghan women, how media played a role in shaping the discussion, and how decision-makers have used this strategy as an excuse to increase sympathy for military intervention.

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