Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2024


Azimi, P. (2024). Decolonizing the Western Perception of Afghan Women: A Feminist Critique. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Parwana Azimi 2024.


Abstract: Feminist theory and activism have often been reduced to singular movements from Western literature and history. Thus, the exploration of Feminist theory is often limited to Western ideology and values. In doing so, Western Feminism has primarily promoted the rights of Women living in developed countries while leaving women in developing countries or otherwise out of the discussion of women’s rights and status. Most often, women's rights struggles outside of the West are seen as colonial projects which portray Muslim women as helpless and requiring liberation from their cultures. A prominent example of this is the case of Afghan women under Western occupation and intervention for decades. As viewed by Westerners, the idea of Afghan women's rights is characterized by concerns over burqas and subservient women who do as they are told without question. This thesis aims to demonstrate how critical examination of Western Feminist perspectives is essential for the decolonization of narratives and images of Afghan women as oppressed, subjugated, and without agency. The thesis will also attempt to challenge views of Western Feminism theories and how they compare to postcolonial narratives. By examining postcolonial Feminist criticisms and putting the voices of Afghan women in context, we can decolonize perceptions and feminism(s) of women in Afghanistan.

Keywords: [Postcolonial Feminism(s)], [Afghan women], [Agency], [Identity]