Burkaphilia Favorite 

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Jun 1 2012

When Behnaz Babazadeh was young, her family moved from Afghanistan to the US. She loved almost everything about her new home — especially America’s amazing selection of candy — but she also loved wearing her familiar pink-flowered headscarf, which she’d grown used to wearing as part of her school uniform in her old home. So she proudly wore it to her first day of American school — where she found herself facing down the piercing stares of her classmates and grilled by the school security guard.

She wants to start a conversation about why that happened — to challenge the image of the burkas and the headscarf as threatening, ominous, a symbol of oppression even on a little girl. What better way than to make herself a burka out of Gummi Bears?

As she says in her TEDxMidAtlantic talk, her sweet and edible burkas make for jarring images. But as she points out, she’s hardly the first person to radically reinterpret the burka. For centuries, it was just one of many local fashions among Afghan women, until the Taliban seized on it as a symbol of piety. A burka made of fruit roll-ups is just one more take — and perhaps one that will make you take a sweet second look at your own assumptions.

Posted by Fritz Tucker on

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