Between Covered and Covert

Margaret A. Mills

in Land of the Unconquerable

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780520261853
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948990 | DOI:
Between Covered and Covert

Show Summary Details


This chapter links the female trickster in Afghan oral tradition to women's agency with stories that are “weapons of the weak.” It specifically investigates the examples from women's personal experience narratives: interviews with women teachers, an activist's post-9/11 autobiographical narrative, and published quotations of women and girls from topically centered journalists' interviews. A folktale told in 1975 by “Madar Zaher” is presented. She is a twenty-nine-year-old married mother of five and accomplished woman storyteller in Herat. Madar Zaher relishes, and narratively embellishes upon, the idea of a young, affluent, smart, religiously observant, and sexually virtuous single woman head of a house hold, though no one in her own prior experience fits that description. Features of the clandestine girls' schools are then reported. Suicide has become an all-too-frequent option for young Afghan women faced with impossible situations, especially disastrous marriages.

Keywords: female trickster; women's agency; Madar Zaher; clandestine girls' schools; Afghan women

Chapter.  6161 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.