society and norms – Gender Roles: Men

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Icon of Holding Hands As with most traditional societies, men are considered the breadwinners and take pride in providing for their families. Within the family they are expected to be disciplinarians and providers for aged parents. As mentioned earlier, men also participate in politics and relationships with outsiders.

If an Afghan man is over the age of 18 and not married he is viewed with suspicion. Under Islam, homosexuality is strictly forbidden and under tribal customs, being a homosexual is punishable by death.  However, even though it is not openly acknowledged or accepted, homosexuality does exist in Afghanistan.  Because even casual interaction with women is taboo, it is not uncommon for men to participate in sex acts with young men and boys.  By Western standards, this is regarded as both homosexuality and pedophilia.  This is not the case in Afghanistan.  Individual or isolated sex acts or sexual behaviors do not necessarily define one’s sexual orientation.  There are even cases of men having sexual relations with young men/boys in public.

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