Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures

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Gossip: Iran, Afghanistan, and South Asia
(2,278 words)

The notion of ghaybat or talking in a negative way about a woman behind her back plays a significant role in the lives of Iranian, Afghan, and South Asian women. Fear of gossip puts pressure on them to uphold traditional and restrictive gender expectations. Given the emphasis on female chastity and modesty, reports about a female's improper behavior, even if unfounded, can ruin a reputation and chances for a good marriage, and even result in physical chastisement or, in extreme cases, death. Women …

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Hegland, Mary Elaine, “Gossip: Iran, Afghanistan, and South Asia”, in: Encyclopedia of Women & Islamic Cultures, General Editor Suad Joseph. Consulted online on 28 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1872-5309_ewic_EWICCOM_0084b>
First published online: 2009

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