The Underground Girls of Kabul

​Traipsing around a library is a safe haven for all readers but that puts you at the risk of stumbling across various worlds that offer the reality of many others that are far from safe.

In Afghanistan, where society is ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as a failure.

The Underground Girls of Kabul is an account by a journalist who uncovers the truth behind girls in Afghanistan that are made to dress as boys and given male names until they reach the age of puberty. 

This may seem strange or deceitful to me and you but it is the measure a mother has to take to prove to society that she isn’t ‘broken’ and can bear a boy or simply a male child to earn money and feed a hungry family. It is the extent that a father has to go through so that others do not pity him for having a house full of daughters and no sons. These children who are made to hide their gender are known as ‘bacha posh’ and is a phenomenon that occurs in many households regardless of their status. 

Due to the changing nature of occupation in Afghan society, under the rule of each new force comes the need to protect ones family. A family with a son, is stronger in society than a house of only daughters. 

Jenny Nordberg shares the life experience of many women. A truly insightful read that  forces one to think about issues in a war torn culture that are rarely heard of. 

With this being my first book review on my blog, I would love to give it a rating but I feel that an account such as this is invaluable and should not be rated at all. If you like to learn more of that which is hard to uncover, then support journalist and writers like this and read the book: @bachaposh

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‘Too Dark’: In Conversation with Jovita George

People are usually unaware of the exact era, some believe it roots back to colonialism and only stood as an issue once the British rule ended, where as others say it has always existed. Despite the historically differing views, as we know it today – dark skin prejudice is a largely problematic intraracial issue, which affects almost all cultures and communities.

Being of South Asian heritage myself, it’s disheartening to see the way the way that minds are conditioned into associating beauty with the fairness of the skin. Prejudicing darker skin tones is a problem that often dictates the way that young dark skinned people feel about their own skin, especially girls.

Today, I am in conversation with Jovita George, who is also known on the internet as Mr Jovita George. As a dark skinned Indian influencer on YouTube, she kicks the stereotypes aside and let’s her confident and unique personality shine through.

I came across her channel almost a year ago, one video in particular grabbed my attention. Now months later, I just had to learn more about her story.

How long have you been on YouTube? I have had my YouTube account since 2011 but, I took to creating content for my channel seriously in 2014.

What sparked the idea of uploading your first video online? I used to be a TV anchor in India. After a while, I decided to stop TV and move to Kuwait, where my family lives. This is when I discovered the YouTube world. I noticed that there were no brown girls in the scene back then, and also, every video I watched seemed to be too long and too complicated. So, I decided to make my own little videos, short and precise for my brown girls.

Video Response to Fair & Lovely

It was refreshing to see a fashion/lifestyle vlogger address issues of prejudice against dark skinned people; as it is a topic that most people tend to shy away from actually discussing out in the open. In your video response to ‘Fair & Lovely’, you mentioned how advertisements for whitening creams consist of role plays in which a girl is seemingly down casted in her professional life before she lightens her skin.  What advice would you give to young girls/boys who fall victim to money making companies?

I have gone through this prejudice, and so I understand. While I did television, I was also a fashion model. Many movie offers came my way too. At the end of a lot of the offers I would hear, “We love you, but we need someone with fair skin!”  

 The least that we can do is ignore this nonsense, and continue on our path to success with hard work and dedication. Never give up. NEVER try to confirm to the society’s standard of beauty!

 The society has made me try Fair & Lovely too. I have tried “Fairness face packs” too. Why should we be ashamed of who we are? Why should we try to change who we are? The only thing all of these products deliver is disappointment in self. I do much better without that, Thank you!

Shadism/Colourism is clearly not a myth and is in fact a large intra-racial issue in India and other South Asian cultures, light or lighter skinned people within a race are favoured. Do you feel that the rise of successful dark skinned people in the media has changed peoples perceptions?

Maybe a little. But we still have a long way to go. And change comes from us. We should not stoop to the Fairness Reign.

How did you overcome the lack of confidence in regards to your skin complexion/ how did you deal with the bullies?

When I was younger, bullies had the upper hand over me. But once I started doing TV, I realized how many 1000’s of little girls looked up at me as an example. I realized how many girls really needed to see more dark girls walk in the limelight along with all the other fair girls. Ultimately I realized the biggest lesson I probably ever learnt, it’s not the color of your skin, it’s what you do that matters! Still clinging on to skin color is silly in today’s world, and to be honest when I get a skin color related question, I get a little annoyed. Because, it really shouldn’t matter.

Instagram: @mrjovitageorge

Are there any active girl power campaigns that you are following and think we could learn a thing or two from?

Non that I’m following, just because I havn’t had the time to read about any. I’m happy to join any that you recommend.

* (I suggest you look into the #unfairandlovely campaign on instagram, it was practically made for you!)*

As an inspiration to 120,000 + subscribers on YouTube – It would be interesting to learn a little about what inspires you

My greatest driving force is my passion and competition with myself. It is never ending and sometimes tiring! :’D

Thank you for having me on your blog love. Wish you all the success! :*

Instagram: @mrjovitageorge

I believe Jovita is an inspiration to many young girls facing similar issues. I would like to give a massive thank you to Jovita for giving me the opportunity to feature her story, I’ll leave the links to her profile and YouTube channel. Follow her already! ♡

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The Mad Artist

​The only artist I ever remember learning about in school was Van Gogh. I wasn’t too taken aback by his paintings, but I cant shake the feeling, that he only made it to the twenty-first-century because of his infamous mutilation.

I doubt ‘starry night’ would have been seen as much more than just a few swirls and his self portrait, just a face – if he hadn’t cut off his own ear. Van Gogh is proof that even a hundred odd years ago, society was as unforgiving as it is today. 

That you can never really make it anywhere if your message is that which is out of the norm, unless you tear yourself apart for the masses and make a spectacle of yourself, your influence remains dormant – because people only ever remember a show. 

I mean, he may have lost his ear in an accidental mishap and backed it with a crude story, but that doesn’t take away from how I feel about the way schools teach ten year olds about such issues. Why weren’t we told, that if we ever felt the need to harm ourselves in a similar way, then we should speak to somebody about it. Why wasn’t the scream addressed as a cry for help 

Self harm, mental health and perceived ‘insanity’ all link to societal pressure somehow. Maybe schools should work on building a healthy level of understanding of such issues, instead of attempting to amuse kids and simply remembering him as:

The Mad Artist.

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