This puppet is apparently intended for the Afghan version of Sesame Street, “Baghch-e-Simsim,” and thus represents yet another naive and well-intentioned but foredoomed effort to improve the situation of women there. The plight of women in Afghanistan stems from Islam, and so isn’t going to be changed by a TV show. And if Zari is introduced on the U.S. version of Sesame Street, she will without any doubt direct her energies to dispelling “Islamophobia.”
“Sesame Street unveils Afghan puppet to empower girls amid Muslim rape epidemic,” by Samantha Chang, Examiner, April 8, 2016 (thanks to Thomas):
Sesame Street has unveiled a new puppet, an Afghan girl named Zari, to empower girls in an oppressive Muslim nation where women’s rights are almost nonexistent.
Zari, age 6, will be featured in Sesame Street segments about health and exercise as she aspires to become a doctor. The Afghan version of Sesame Street, called “Baghch-e-Simsim” (Sesame Garden), is the most popular children’s TV show in Afghanistan.
Sesame Street executives say they hope Zari will open people’s minds about the importance of encouraging schooling for girls in a country where many women are excluded from education.
“Debuting a confident, inquisitive, and sweet Afghan girl character is a perfect opportunity to engage both boys and girls with lessons supporting girls’ empowerment,” Sesame Street executive VP Sherrie Westin said in a press release.
Zari will wear a hijab (the traditional Muslim headscarf) during some segments, and casual clothes in others. In reality, Zari could be beaten or killed for not wearing a headscarf at all times, so Sesame Street is taking some creative license with this move.
Over 83% of Afghan women are illiterate due to the cultural norm of not allowing women to attend school.
According to UNICEF, most Afghan girls are married off by age 15, which means Sesame Street’s new character Zari has only 9 more years left before she becomes a child bride.
The introduction of Zari on Sesame Street occurs against the backdrop of a Muslim rape epidemic sweeping across Europe. Islamic law and tradition condones rape of “infidel” women; in fact, it’s encouraged to help them “convert” to Islam. Rape is considered the “woman’s fault,” because she would not have been raped if she had dressed modestly, or if she had stayed home like a “good Muslim woman.”…