I do not think I focused enough on the incredible opportunity that she was offering these women. In a country where women went from relative equality in the 80’s to extreme censorship in the 90’s and 2000’s so many women lost the ability to support themselves.
Even in the US, a woman in a bad situation – abusive husband, father, parents, etc who cannot support herself is trapped unless she is extraordinarily lucky and finds the emotional support to free herself. By empowering these women to have marketable skills like being a beautician – and how to do so by combining traditional Afghanistan techniques and Western techniques (including proper hygenic treatment of the tools of the trade) they open the door for these women to begin making some choices and freedoms of their own. Deborah takes her own experiences with an abusive and controlling spouse and fights back and works through these issues by helping other women find a way to make money to help their family, or to save money more than the husband knows about to be able to do have more choice in their lives.
Whether or not you can see eye to eye with Deborah on her personal choices, and the way that she makes decisions that affect the lives of her closest friends and family; she definitely makes an impact on the lives of many women in Kabul.
I came to this book with a humorous state of mind – I mean – seriously – beauty school? How does that change the world? I walked away with a radically different state of mind. Beauty in a world where women were hidden and with no public agency or voice, can have more impact on the individual than I can really grasp in a world where beauticians are everywhere. I can only hope that the political sphere over there improves and the funding returns for the school to carry on.