RT’s new documentary "The Afghan Woman King" tells the story of Bibi Hokmeena - a Pashtun woman who’s chosen to look and act like a man. Although the province of Khost where she lives is extremely traditional in its ways, even by local standards, her lifestyle doesn’t raise any questions among her neighbours, who respect her for being wise and brave and speaking for the underprivileged, including women and children.
A Provincial Council member, she takes part in committee meetings alongside men and behaves as their equal. Although no a proponent of Western feminist ideals, she advocates for Afghani women’s rights in the most traditional sense. "They look like curtains", she says, "wearing chador or paranja according to the Islamic tradition". Being a religious person, she believes women should stay home rather than go out uncovered, but when it comes to the way she dresses, breaking away from the paradigm comes to her naturally.
A daughter of a local elder, she preferred to dress and act like a boy from an early age. First, she worked alongside her brothers and then waged jihad against the Soviet troops and later against the Taliban. She earned the right to speak her mind and to carry a gun, as a Pashtun man would. She says, "carrying a weapon makes me feel as if ten men are backing me", but it’s her reputation and respect of the community that serves as her shield.
When asked whether she wishes she’d married and had kids, she replies that she doesn’t miss having children since "these days kids don’t obey anymore". Still, she enjoys the company of her nephews’ brood, whom she teaches to shoot, as a grandpa would.