Can You Imagine Wanting This?

I recently finished Kabul Beauty School. It’s a great piece of non-fiction about a feisty American woman who takes on Afghanistan and makes it meet her on her own terms.

A central theme of the book is women’s issues in Afghanistan, and a central aspect of that is marriage. And how do most Afghani women feel about marriage? They are not enthusiastic. Basically, there are two reasons why they might want to get married:

1 – to avoid a forced union with a Talib

2 – because maybe the husband will be less oppressive than the father or brother selling them off to him.

Otherwise, they’re pretty much going into a union where they’re perceived as foot-massaging, tea-serving, baby-making machines. Electric appliances, really, because when they don’t work right, the first remedy tried is a kick in the side. No shock, then, that they approach marriage with a reluctant resignation.

Anyway, I was thinking about how different our outlook on marriage is. Here is a whole online community of us dedicated to the pursuit of marriage and commiserating about not achieving that happy state.  Us womenfolk are really lucky that we live in the right country in the right era. We can cheerfully look forward to a marriage of equals where we have the full legal and social right to keep our husbands in their places. Assuming we can find one. That’s one advantage to the Afghani method – only the very worst specimens can’t find a man willing to abuse them.