September 22, 2010

bacha posh

In a society that values boys much higher than girls, families with no male offspring may decide to raise a girl as a boy, a "bacha posh" (dressed up as a boy), at least until puberty. It gives the family recognition and makes it possible for the little girl to play outside, run errands, etc.

For most such girls, boyhood has an inevitable end. After being raised as a boy, with whatever privileges or burdens it may entail, they switch back once they become teenagers. When their bodies begin to change and they approach marrying age, parents consider it too risky for them to be around boys anymore.

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