From Khastgari to Arosi: Understanding Attitudes Towards Marriage Choice and Practice Amongst Afghan Women in the Canadian Diaspora
While a significant amount of attention is often paid to the notion of forced and abusive marriages in Afghanistan, little has been said to give Afghan women the agency and opportunity to speak out for themselves and talk about their own personal experiences in relation to marriage and marriage practices. This especially pertains to Afghan women in the Canadian diaspora when multiple layers of identity associated with gender, culture, and faith become intertwined. Navigating romantic relationships through these multiple intersections becomes even more complex, but it does offer room for creativity, resistance, and accommodation. In fact, for most Afghan women in the Canadian diaspora, their attitudes towards marriage practices and marriage choice reveal diverse perspectives on gender ideologies and gender relations. The purpose of this thesis is to explore how individualistic desires and cultural values and expectations affect the marriage choices of first and second-generation Afghan women living in the Canadian diaspora. This study is based on qualitative research consisting of in-depth, extensive online interviews¬¬ and draws on postcolonial and anti-racist feminist analyses to map out the complex interactions of race, gender, religion, and sexuality that pertain to the diverse experiences faced by Afghan women when engaging with feminism. Understanding the rationalizations behind marriage choice and practices for Afghan women in the diaspora paves the way for better understanding of a group that has typically been neglected in academia.