Monday, August 10, 2009

The inappropriate clothing issue

The appropriate clothing issue that's being discussed in many places keeps bringing up a response that's really irritating me. It's not only irritating but it's ignorant too, showing a complete lack of understanding, a lack of awareness, tunnel vision.

It's been pointed out in a couple of blogs I've just been reading. Geoff Pound has a post titled 'Malls should not sell clothes inappropriate to the UAE', which is a quote from a reader of Gulf News' article on the subject.

Samurai Sam includes in his post on the subject 'Of course about 345 people have already pointed out that the malls themselves are selling the clothes'.

Firstly, the clothes themselves - and I assume they're talking about women's revealing clothing - are not inappropriate to the UAE nor are they contrary to the culture.

What goes against the culture is for revealing clothing to be worn in public or in mixed company.

In private, and in particular at women-only gatherings, revealing clothing is not at all unusual. (Mrs Seabee was at an Emirati friend's pre-wedding party recently so I have a first-hand report).

For shops to sell the clothing for women to wear here in private or in female-only company, or for residents and tourists to buy here to wear overseas, is not inappropriate. Nor does it encourage buyers to wear it inappropriately.

Secondly, there are very many products on sale which are not for use in the malls, including, for example, cigarettes, skate boards, lingerie, bikinis, sheesha pipes.

There's not a problem with the products themselves, nor with selling them. There's only a problem if they're used in the wrong place.


eric blair said...

could you possibly be any more obtuse? clothing is meant to be worn in public. sorry gramps.

Seabee said...

There you go demonstrating your ignorance in public yet again.

Anonymous said...

Seabee - thanks for the insight. I don't like to think of myself as ignorant (who does? :) ) We've been here 2 years from Australia and completely agree with wearing appropriate clothing as a respect for local customs etc but I found myself agreeing that it seems double standards to sell what you are not allowed to wear.

I seriously didn't realize that local women dressed that differently when not in public. I kind of imagined they would wear less conservative clothes when not in public but not bikini's, revealing clothing and the like.

Thanks for opening my eyes a little wider.

Seabee said...

Anon@3.55, there's a trend these days for younger women to wear abayas which open at the front as they walk. You'll see that underneath there's the same clothing as westerners wear - jeans, sneakers, stilleto heels etc.

The wedding party I mentioned had Mrs Seabee saying that she'd never seen so much cleavage and bare flesh. When they got the word that the groom and his group were on their way they all covered up in abaya and shayla.

On the question of selling what can't be worn, as I said, it can be worn, but not everywhere. Check out some nighclubs for example!

Also remember that a big percentage of customers for these shops are tourists. There are literally millions more female tourists than residents.

Check out the mens stores too, they have heavy overcoats, gloves, scarves etc. Hardly stuff that will be worn here.

Media Junkie said...

valid point.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

very well observed seabee!! i just arrived like 6 weeks ago with some summer skirts and short pants in my luggage. i have not worn any of them in public till now. if you are a little bit sensitive and observing your environment you just do not feel like wearing this kind of clothes any more. i feel a lot better with long trousers and t- shirts - the malls and restaurants are super air-conditioned anyway.

C. Kent said...

Hypothetically , what if I were to so desire wearing my underpants outside my my pants? Would this be inappropriate?

Seabee said...

Hypothetically, yes of course. Underpants are just that, underpants, to be worn under

ZeTallGerman said...

I think this new "regulation" and campaign on inappropriate clothing has attracted so much opposition simply because of bad timing: people are already nervous, stressed and annoyed enough in Dubai in these uncertain times, with denial or complete lack of communication by the government/rulers not helping to instill any confidence that 'anyone' may actually have a bright future or certain rights here. Confusion causes fear, and fear leads to aggression. People are tense & annoyed already these days ("What! Now they're telling me another thing I'm not allowed to do?!") If Dubai had brought out this campaign during the boom times of 2004-2007 then it probably would have been quietly accepted by both expatriate and tourists.
After all: it's not just Dubai that is hypocritical in this instance - "respectful" clothing is requested in most Arab and also many Asian countries (not only the Muslim ones...) and these countries are also full of prostitution, etc.
IMHO, after having lived here for 11 years, I've always dressed "decently" in certain public environments - be it shopping malls, the souks or just walking along the street. Why? Well, for one, I don't particularly enjoy being mistaken for one of such said prostitutes. Secondly, I don't like being stared at and followed around, possibly even groped (yes, I've seen it happen many times to females, in broad daylight).
At the end of the day I don't see what the huge fuss is about. Nobody is asking women to wear Abayas (no, that's Saudi) and nobody is asking men to wear turtle-neck sweaters and long trousers everywhere (in fact, why are men so bothered about this? It obviously is aimed at the females in the UAE).
And as to the "innapropriate" clothing items being for sale here in the UAE I have to agree with seabee: just because something's for sale doesn't mean it has to be flaunted in public.
In the UAE you are not allowed to drink alcohol in public (i.e. on the beach, in the park, etc.) So does that mean that the sale of all alcohol should be banned?

Designer Studio said...
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Anonymous said...

Valid Point.
Respect the laws of the country and the people. I am Asian, but very liberal in my thoughts but but I hate to see pople half naked - it makes one feel uncomfotable. Have been here 11 years but it is only in the last 2 or 3 yrs have we noticed such indecency. Malls are places where families visit, so we need to adhere and respect peoples sentiments and culture.

Trota5mundos said...

I just moved here from Australia (I'm from South America), and left behind lots of clothing that I thought were going to be a bit too revealing with the idea of buying more appropriate ones here. It was a surprise to find that is almost impossible to buy something which is not revealing! I thought it was going to be a lot easier to find the sort of clothes they expect you to wear, or is it just me who doesn't find them? (nice blouses that doesn't cost an eye and an arm?)

Seabee said...

Trota5mundos, stay away from the designer shops in the new malls and you'll find plenty of good quality inexpensive clothing. You can also have thigs made-to-measure for ridiculously low cost from tailors/dressmakers in places like Karama and Satwa.

Designer Store said...

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