I'm embarrassed for most participants on most American reality shows*, so why do I feel that risking your life to be a contestant on Afghan Model is almost noble? Maybe? The format of the show rips off America's Next Top Model—only with the added risk of being disowned or killed if you're picked to be a contestant. But barring those bleak scenarios, you might just become a model!

Via The Atlantic:

...Kabuli started advertising for Afghan Model early last year. “We asked for whoever wants to show their clothes, their height, their bodies, their faces, they can come and try out,” Kabuli tells me. About 3,000 young people showed up for auditions. Of those, only 10 were women. Eighty contestants were picked—including all 10 women.

But all did not go smoothly. The number of women dropped to seven, after the families of three women forced them to step down. One of the 15 semifinalists, a man named Munir, was shot dead one night as he drove through an intersection. No one has been arrested, and his picture still sits in the middle of the roundabout where he was killed.

I mean, the women are brave for participating, and they're getting to participate. That's a weird sort of progress, right? That according to the article, "the burgeoning media... has changed local culture. In the past eight years, at least 17 private TV stations have filled the post-Taliban vacuum in Kabul—and new ones pop up all the time."

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Still, Afghan Model? I am conflicted. My head says, Follow your heart! but my innards are cringing.

*Tool Academy excluded, where Dancin' Tools and Cryin' Tools and every other tool on God's silly green earth earn badges to become real men again.