Monday, August 03, 2009

I don't understand, again

All too often our newspapers publish incomplete stories, quoting statements from officials and leaving it at that. Questions are not asked which would provide clarification of what the statement means.

There's another example in this morning's Khaleej Times, the headline being 'Ministry Launches Campaign Against Female Cross-dressers'.

Apparently the Ministry of Social Affairs has launched a campaign called "Excuse me, I’m a girl" to combat a trend of girls cross-dressing as men.

The Ministry has 'several solutions to combat the practice, including providing psychological treatment and social counselling to affected girls'.

As part of Sharjah's decency campaign in malls and residential areas, the police will question and arrest cross-dressing women and men.

By the way, according to the report this doesn't just apply to the northern emirates. It says that in Dubai 41 men and women who indulged in cross-dressing were arrested between May and July 2008.

Expatriates will be deported and UAE nationals will be referred to the
public prosecution, so this is a serious matter.

So don't you think that the journalists should have clarified exactly what a female can and can't wear before filing the story?

Male cross-dressing is straighforward. A man wearing a dress, stilleto heels, make-up would fairly obviously be cross-dressing.

But a female?

Trousers? Jeans? Reeboks? A jacket? No make-up? What about something that's quite common, jeans under an abaya?

I expect an official will announce tomorrow that 'everybody knows' what female cross dressing is.

I don't.

The story's here.


Anonymous said...

This country goes alot with assumptions Seabee and you know that very well, but I wonder wether a short hair lady at her 50's with manly facial looks would also be caught in confussion of cross dressing or not:)

Rami said...

I've asked this question (what defines a cross-dressing girl) over and again every time the whole 'cross-dressing' thing pops up (on the community blog).

Every single time, without fail, I get a chorus call (from the usual suspects over there) of 'everyone knows what a cross-dressing girl is' and 'this is our country and our laws and if you don't like it etc etc'.

CrabbyKanna said...

I would put this down to a huge cultural difference. The expat community is definitely puzzled at the way behaviours and dress sense have been frowned at. You are lost in between not knowing what to do and where will you cross the line while entering different emirates. UAE is a melting pot of different cultures and is definitely difficult to draw a line!

James O'Hearn said...

I'd really like clarification, but I have a nagging suspicion that this will relate more to western women and professional women who wear pantsuits.

South Asian women wearing saris or shalwar kameez wouldn't have to worry about this.

Whatever the case may be, if this is enforced more widely, it will be boom times for dress retailers.

Dubai Jazz said...

Totally agree with Rami.

Kathryn said...

Here's a story from Sudan about a similar thing from the Australian newspapers yesterday. Funny how these things crop up in groups!,,25882534-1702,00.html