In an earlier post, I wrote about the insidiousness of the media and the unethical objectification of women, especially that of the Afghan girl in the 1985 issue of National Geographic (see link). In 2002, National Geographic went out in search of the mysterious girl with Steve McCurry, the original photographer, and a “team of experts, including a forensic pathologist, who constructed from the original photograph a model of the girl’s face seventeen years later. In addition, it sent the photograph to John Daugman, inventor of automatic iris recognition, a technology that uses iris patterns much as we use fingerprints to determine identity” (Dinah Zeiger, p.270, ‘That (Afghan) Girl! Ideology Unveiled in National Geographic’, in ‘The Veil: Women Writers on its History, Lore, and Politics’ (2008), edited by Jennifer Heath).
After the team had located that Afghan girl, the team went on to examine her in detail, exacerbating the cultural insensitivities employed in this endeavour. The Afghan girl, now a woman identified as Sharbat Gula, had to be isolated for an eye examination by a male optometrist, albeit in the presence of her husband. Zeiger writes about this at length: Continue reading