Tuesday, June 3, 2008

on the daily lives of Iraqi women

Baghdad Bureau is doing a series of responses to readers' questions for Iraqi women. The first installment is ready for your perusal. They do these quorums from time to time - this one targets women specifically and of course will include a session on women's clothing. (Also it includes a little blurb about how expensive the clothes their first female interviewee was wearing appeared to be ... thank god. How can I visualize a woman if I don't know what she is wearing??? Oh wait, there is a PICTURE). It appears that they only asked questions submitted by women so far, we (I) will of course be following the session and will reserve comment on tokenism until all results are in.

The questions are unsurprisingly focused on stereotypically female issues, like what kinds of food the Iraqi women cook and how they feel about possibly having more children. Of course that is ... I don't need to say. It also offers a real window into what life looks like in Baghdad! The woman who is asked about whether she would have more children talks about how difficult it is to provide for the children she has now, the woman who is asked about food says that now they have Pepsi available and have started drinking less water. The nature of the questions, though, seems to indicate just how far away Iraq feels to most readers of the news. The video at the top shows a woman expressing her concerns for her daughter and how she behaves because of the negative influences of satellite TV; the questioner keeps asking her follow-up questions to clarify her point. I would put money on their being a comment thread on the Times website right now about TV and child rearing. This really gets you thinking about the links that exist between Iraqi society and American society right now - shouldn't we know more about things like how hard it is to wash clothes when you have no electricity?

Photo is of the market in Karada, a neighborhood on the south side of Baghdad where the interviews were conducted.

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