Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Afghan Girl: The Role of the Afghan Girl before getting Married

Afghan  Parents look forward to the day their son/daughter will get married from almost the moment they are born. The partner that they will marry isn’t really a question of whom as it is assumed they will be a” good afghan, from a good family with a good education”.
 Most  Afghan parents’ thoughts are consumed by the wedding reception itself! How beautiful it will be, what they will wear and how they are going to dance all day because after all it’s their child’s wedding! An unmarried girl in the Afghan culture is simply a girl waiting to be married, regardless of their situation. We have put a lot of pressure on ourselves and our family members and friends to get married as that is the one honorable role anyone can have in life. This is true to an extent, however, the role that a young Afghan girl has before getting married is quite diverse and much needed in her family. 
This post is geared towards understanding the unique position Afghan girls all over the globe face when it comes to their life as an unmarried girl and how they are viewed from relatives and friends. Back in the day, as with most traditional cultures, girls were seen and treated as burden to the family if they were not married. In the Afghan culture, it becomes more of an honorable issue. Parents are more concerned about a girl’s ability to bring unnecessary shame to the family, i.e. having a boyfriend, having a child out of wedlock or creating a negative reputation in the community for themselves and worse, their families. After all, reputation is everything to Afghans, as that is how marriages are formed and business deals done.
We forget to acknowledge that the role of an Afghan girl before marriage, is just as important as being a wife. These roles range from being caretaker for their families, whether it’s to elderly parents and relatives to younger siblings. They make themselves available to attend doctor appointments with family members to make sure language is not a barrier and the best medical treatment is given their loved ones. The role of being a breadwinner and financial assistance to their families through their professional work and dedication to their education has been an emerging role with girls now getting advanced degrees.

Afghan girls who are not married yet give endless support and love to their families. They serve as  inspirational role models for their peers and siblings and for generations to come. Sure, marriage is a path most girls want in their lives when the time is right and the person is right for them, however in the meantime, Afghan girls are motivated to improve their lives and the lives of those around them through their daily hard work and struggle to succeed. This type of motivation steeps into married life, because after all it is the habits of people that will stay with them throughout their daily lives. Afghan girls should be encouraged to get an education and spend their time before getting married on improving their intellect, taking advantage of educational opportunities, and making a difference by contributing to their communities and being a productive member of society. These are the traits that will make them great wives and mothers as they will implement them in their married and future family life. Educated mothers raise well rounded, healthy children, after all, we become their daily teachers and advisers.

The time between ‘waiting to get married’ and actually getting married for an Afghan girl can be one of the most incredible and amazing time to really invest in oneself through education as they will always have goals and dreams to follow and look forward to achieving. Education for an Afghan girl will help her distinguish the type of man she hopes to marry. Rather than accepting any suitor who simply comes to ask for her hand in marriage and follows all of the cultural rules, will think twice about the person they are, understand the right questions to ask and in general have a feel for compatibility in lifestyles and future goals and obligations.
The traditional Afghan girl, is now the new modern girl who understands and appreciates the world around her, understands and accepts her family and is dedicated to their well being and happiness and can take care of those around her whether it is showing love and care taking duties or financially. The Afghan girl before marriage in the United States has endless opportunities available to her through attaining advanced degree and diverse roles that she must fulfill in her family.  Because of the aforementioned experiences, the unmarried Afghan girl is responsible, She is loved  and respected unconditionally , serves  a best friend to her siblings and parents, is supported in her every endeavors  and seen as a role model and not a burden. And what smart and successful Afghan man would not be proud to have someone like that to become his wife?