Reader John W. sent me the photo below, showing women in Kabul in 1970 and the present, clearly meant to underscore the religously-induced difference in dress.
But of course those photos could be cherry-picked. Then I remembered that, at her talk in Vancouver, Maryam Namazie, discussing the burqa, also said that since her youth, women in her Iranian homeland have been increasingly swathed and covered according to the dictates of Islam.
So I simply did a few Google Image searches, and show in each case the first four rows of photos. I make no claim that these photos are a random sample of women (that’s not the way Google Image works), but I think they’re still telling. Click on the links to go to the full search. You can enlarge all photos by clicking on them (twice, with a few moments in between each click, to eliminate the book icons).
Kabul, women, 1970 (note that there’s one duplicate of the first photo from Iran). The Taliban took control of the country in 1996 and imposed sharia law.
What does this say about the claim that women in these countries wear the burqa, niqab, and hijab out of choice rather than cultural decrees?