The Beauty Academy of Kabul

@AmbiePam (56662)
United States
October 19, 2008 10:48am CST
This post is so not meant to start a fight, so I hope this comes across as just a message to experience something we really cannot understand. I rented a 'docudrama' called The Beauty Academy of Kabul, about a group of American and English women (hairdressers) who went to Kabul (Afghanistan) back in 2003 to give Afghan women lessons at a real beauty school so they could learn a trade, and help support their families. With the Taliban not in power (although some still are there) women now have the chance to go out and do this. They have a lot more freedom. But oh wow, not the freedom they had even back in the 1970s. Afgan women wore mini skirts back then, families went to the theater! Can you imagine how much has changed? They did things like we can do now. When the Soviets invaded the Afghans fought back with arms from America. Yeah, they got help because then they were just defending their country. Unfortunately, extreme Islam came next and those arms were then used in a totally different way. Women had to cover their faces, if they showed an arm or ankle, they were beaten. The women are still oppressed because the Islam standards although eased from the Taliban expulsion, plenty still exist. The documentary is just a little over one hour. On Netflix, if you are a member, you can watch it right from your computer. They have American women teaching, English women teaching, and some women who fled from Afghanistan more than twenty years ago. Although one short haired red headed American lady is totally obnoxious, you just see the the desire in all of them to help. And the Afgan women are so inspiring. This is uplifting, yet thought provoking. I realize this post won't be greatly answered, but I had to share this with you all. I think it would even change your heart a little if you had the chance to see this. It is worth it. The women and men they interviewed both said they are glad the Americans are here to help, they are glad NATO is there to help. And the makers of this documentary don't gloss over things. They show an unbiased view, a view from both 'sides of the coin.'
1 person likes this
3 responses
@aseretdd (13732)
• Philippines
23 Oct 08
What an interesting 'docudrama'... never thought that the help the world gave to Afghanistan extended into this... and bringing a beauty school to the women of this country is a good start in helping them get to their feet again... It is so sad that with the different cultures of the world... women tend to be treated badly... and i think the women of Islam had it really bad... the teachings of the Koran are there to protect them... but men tend to exaggerate these teachings... I hope in the near future... the women of Afghanistan would enjoy the freedom they enjoyed during the 70's...
@AmbiePam (56662)
• United States
23 Oct 08
The exaggerated rules, yes. It is hard to imagine them ever getting back to the way of their country just 20 to 30 years ago. I can't imagine them without burkas, yet not that long ago they weren't mandatory, and things were so less severe.
@jillhill (37377)
• United States
19 Oct 08
I don't have netflix but I will be on the lookout to see if I can catch it somewhere. My one son in law was a NATO peacekeeper there for two different tours. He told us about the conditions over there.....how very lucky we are. Thanks for the heads up....it would not only be interesting to see but very educational for some.
1 person likes this
@AmbiePam (56662)
• United States
20 Oct 08
Your son-in-law probably saw enough horror over there for two lifetimes. It isn't something we like to think about, and I of course can't comment too much on Iraq, but from the people I know who have been to serve in Afghanistan, it is way too much like the awful things we hear. And the documentary kind of gives me a hope that even if women are oppressed, they can still have something for 'them'. Their beauty salons are done out of their own homes, and some of them actually bring in more than their husbands. But with money so scarce, most of the men don't mind! Hey, even some American men mind having their wives make more money than they do, lol.
• United States
19 Oct 08
I usually like those types of books. My husband is a Muslim from Algeria. However, I never did read the book or see the movie because of the dishonesty involved in it. For example, Ms. Rodriguez did not start the beauty school as she claims. It was started by Mary MacMakin. http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/004386.html The book/film is filled with inaccuracies and inconsistencies. http://blog.booklistonline.com/2007/05/01/beauty-school-allegedly-not-also-a-journalism-school/ It appears to me that Ms. Rodriguez used those women for her own gain. If you think about the money this woman is making on the project. Who comes out ahead? Is she sharing the money with them? People are very poor in that country. I don't think they are really making a substantial living from what they learned. People cannot afford it. The "mini" skirts of the 70's in Afghanistan were not like the mini skirts of the USA. They were above the knee by one or 2 inches. A mini skirt here is up to your thigh or butt. I feel like a woman should not have to completely cover but on the the other hand in the USA fashion is out of hand. Women and men show parts of their body that the rest of the world does not have to see. Ambie, this is an excellent discussion!!!!!!
@AmbiePam (56662)
• United States
19 Oct 08
I'm afraid I never read the book. I just know about the documentary. And as for the mini-skirts, they weren't like the mini skirts of today. The documentary showed footage of the women in Afghanistan back in the '70s and what they wore (footage from the Aghanistan History archives). As for the beauty school, it was free, and all the people were volunteers so they didn't make money. In fact, one of the women in the school got a prize of 500 dollars. Are we talking about the same documentary?
• United States
19 Oct 08
It is called The Beauty Academy of Kabul. I don't think there are two of those. If you look at the links they tell you a little more about this. I had heard about it quiet some time ago. I know she said she started the school when, in reality, she did not. There are other things there, too.
@AmbiePam (56662)
• United States
20 Oct 08
I didn't think the odds of two documentaries with the same name could be different, but so much of what you mentioned isn't in the documentary. I checked out a couple of those links. In the documentary no one mentions who actually started the school. And the first hand accounts of being beaten for letting ankles and arms show are from the Afghan women, in one on one interviews. So much more has been done on the circumstances of the Afghan women, certainly not all in this documentary. When the Taliban took over, film, TV, and schools for girls ceased to exist. Obviously not all Muslim people are extreme. But in the case of the Afghan women it has put them under such horrible conditions. Muslims in America or England or France aren't, or certainly don't appear to be like the ones in the Middle East. I mean I've always heard how Muslim women were treated in the Middle East, but to see so many first hand accounts is just, wow. The way the men treat the women as second class citizens is just horrifying. But what gets me is seeing the Afghan women who fled 20 years ago and have come back to a country they don't even recognize.