The law is back that forbids Afghan’s Shiite women to leave the house or to work without their husband’s permission, or to decline sex without losing economic support. (If you can’t work, in other words, you’ve got to put out to eat.)
President, and presidential candidate, Karzai’s quietly signing the law is regarded as a deal in exchange for the promise of votes to be delivered by powerful Shiite clerics.
Women, meanwhile, especially in the south and east, will be afraid to vote.
I remember being startled when I first read Claude Levi-Strauss on women as a medium of exchange. (I’ve now tried for about an hour to find a simple, direct link for that. Here’s the most straightforward short summary I could find. Here’s a famous, scathing feminist rejoinder.) It’s not an idea moldering in an archive somewhere; here’s a blogger who connects it to Sarah Palin.