I often observe how the Afghan men and boys treat women and girls in our society—how they think about them and what they expect from their future wives. It is shocking.

I have had discussions with many boys in Afghanistan who are well educated, rich, and free to do whatever they like, but with regard to their future wives they demand a double standard.

Unfortunately, nowadays there are many women who have turned to prostitution to earn money to support their families, and though this is illegal it gives men the opportunity to fulfill their physical needs. I don’t mind this. As a free human, I think you have choices to do what you want. But what makes me angry is the demands these boys and men put on their future wives.

While they do whatever they want when they are young—drinking, having lots of girlfriends and physical relationships with different women—they still want their wives to be pure and to be virgins. The first kiss must be saved for him, the husband; the first boy’s hand a girl holds must be that of her husband’s.

When I ask a boy why he wants a virgin when he is not one, he doesn’t know. He answers, “Because I am a man and my case is different than a girl’s.”

Do you think it is fair that a girl is expected to be a virgin for her husband, when he is not? Do you think the reasons a man gives for what he is doing are fair and justify what he does? Is it acceptable that men impose a double standard on women?

By Marzia N.

Photo by Mohammad Kherkhah