a woman's black silhouette in front of blue lights

“I made an opportunity out of this threat and ban and did it so the mannequins are even more attractive than before.”

A shop owner in Kabul, Afghanistan. When the Taliban took control in August 2021, they ordered that all mannequins must be removed from shop displays or have their heads removed. Some shopkeepers pushed back and the order was amended to allow mannequins' heads to be covered instead.

Published on

jan 16, 2023

Big Picture: Recent photos from the Afghan capital show an example of how under the Taliban’s rule, mannequins are now required to have their heads covered. The Associated Press reports, “The hooded mannequins are one symbol of the Taliban’s puritanical rule over Afghanistan. But in a way, they are also a small show of resistance and creativity by Kabul’s dress merchants.” Why? After seizing control of Afghanistan in August 2021, the Taliban originally wanted mannequins to have their heads removed or for them to be completely removed from shop windows.

Reason: This order was based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law forbidding human statues and images because they could be idols which are worshipped. It also coincides with Taliban moves to place limitations on women in public.

One woman, who was shopping on a popular Kabul street with dress shops, said: “When I see them, I feel that these mannequins are also captured and trapped, and I get a sense of fear. I feel like I see myself behind these shop windows, an Afghan woman who has been deprived of all her rights.”

For photos and more about this story, click here (The Associated Press)

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