Taliban punch mannequin statues in Kabul

A strange scene spreads in the windows of fashion shops across the Afghan capital, Kabul. A scene that might scare some. Mannequins in women’s clothing stores have their heads covered with cloth bags or wrapped in black plastic bags, on the orders of the ruling Taliban authorities. The move is among several steps taken by the hardline movement to suppress women’s freedoms since it took power in August 2021.

The Taliban initially wanted to completely decapitate the models. Shortly after taking power, the authorities decreed that all mannequins must be removed from shop windows or beheaded, according to officials. media locals. Some clothing sellers have joined. Others refused, complaining that they wouldn’t be in able to display their clothes properly or they would have to destroy expensive mannequins. Taliban officials were left with no choice but to reverse the decision and instead allow shopkeepers to cover models’ heads with plastic or cloth bags.

Shopkeepers had to balance obedience to movement and trying to attract customers. The variety of solutions devised was demonstrated at the Lycée Maryam, a middle-class shopping street lined with clothing stores in northern Kabul. The shop windows and galleries are filled with models in colorful evening gowns and dresses wearing different types of headdresses.

In one of the shops, the models’ heads were covered with specially designed bags of the same basic material as the traditional dresses, which remind us of the time of the Corona epidemic when fashion houses produced masks in the same colors and materials as the dresses. Some shop owners have resorted to covering the heads of the models with aluminum foil, to cut costs.

Shopkeepers must maintain the minimum attractiveness of their wares after the collapse of the economy following the seizure of power by the Taliban and the consequent cut in international finance.

A small number of male models can be seen in the shop windows, even with their heads covered, indicating that the authorities are enforcing the ban in evenly.

Early in the Taliban’s takeover, it said it would not impose the same harsh rules on society as it did during its first government in the late 1990s. But gradually they have imposed more restrictions, especially on women: the Taliban has barred girls from attending middle and high school, and last month also ordered the expulsion of all women from universities, they also banned most jobs and asked them to cover their faces outside.