Outfit… and a culture fit!

Aryana Sayeed dress

How Aryana Sayeed’s skin-coloured dress got under the skin of religious heads

Who would have thought Aryana Sayeed’s concert in Paris on 13 May would create so much controversy amongst the Afghan community.

Aryana decided to wear a controversial skin-coloured dress, which sparked “condemnation” from religious figures, social media and TV personalities. Statements such as the dress was against Afghan culture and non-Islamic were all over the internet. But Aryana ended the cultural tumult after a few days, uploading a video to her Facebook page, showing the contentious dress going up in flames with the caption;

“Today we resolve one of the biggest current problems of Afghanistan so we can start focusing on other problems. It should be noted that the reason for this action of mine is not the pressure of those who still live in the dark ages but to raise further awareness in regards to important issues with our society.”

But this is not the first time; Aryana has been condemned for her outfit. In the past, Aryana was criticised for appearing on Afghan Star—the Afghan version of reality show American Idol stage—in a tight dress.

Images of Aryana covered in blood went viral on social media with the rumour that she had been kidnapped by terrorists for going against religious traditions.

The problem was not really Aryana’s outfit but simply her role as a successful woman which to religious fanatics is seen as a disgrace. Afghanistan was a progressive nation in the 60s and 70s with women being given the freedom and openness to join workforce and choose what to wear. But once the insurgents came to power in Afghanistan, a lot of restrictions were placed upon women. For years, Afghan women have been bearing gender inequality and discrimination against them, but the brave like Aryana and a few other Afghan female artists, have broken the shackles. They have empowered other women to voice their rights and contribute to society.

A toast to women like Aryana who try to break out, break free.


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