Magazine aims to introduce positive image of Afghan women

New magazine turns the page on conservative cultural traditions, with features on fashion, make-up and birth control.

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    Kabul - A new women's magazine is turning the page on Afghan cultural traditions, with features on fashion, make-up and even adverts about birth control.

    The first edition of Gellara, a fashion magazine espousing what conservative Afghans call hardcore feminism, has just been published by an all-volunteer team of women.

    It is inspired by Western magazines such as Vogue and Allure, and offers models with uncovered hair and articles that deal with pregnancy, fashion and birth-control tips.

    "It's time for Afghanistan to introduce a positive, colourful image of women from this country to the world," Fatana Hassanzada, the editor-in-chief of Gallera, told Al Jazeera.

    "One of our aims is to show women they have the right to choose the style of dress that they like.

    "No woman would choose a burqa that covers them from head to toe. They don't even allow a woman to walk properly."

    However, many Afghans - particularly men - say the magazine poses dangers.

    "It's not good for Muslims.Their heads are uncovered and they wear revealing, anti-Islamic clothes," says Ghulam, a street vendor.

    "It's not for our society. We don't accept such European style of dress here."

    In a land where the consequences for crossing cultural barriers can be severe, Gellara's staff are taking precautions against potential attacks. One thing the magazine does not publish is its address.

    "From the day the magazine was launched, we've been lucky that there hasn't been an incident where we've been physically threatened," Hassanzada told Al Jazeera.

    "But the social media statements directed against me and my co-workers are sometimes harsh and radical."


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