Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cultural Differences


  1. Before you comment... please watch this video.
    I'll be happy to read your comments.
    I hope you will understand something about why Muslim women like to wear their veil or "hijab."

  2. Very interesting comparison. What I find with our western culture is that women tend to dress more to impress other women so sometimes a full cover up would take pressure off, especially in teenage years. What I would love is for women to think of themselves as valuable human beings just as they are and be the indivuals that they were made to be.

  3. nice pic

    @ Suzanne. I agree with what you say, but felt I just had to point out there is alot of competition with veiled women on how to look. People think we wear that 24/7 but its off the minute we are in doors/ amongst other women.
    I grew up in the Western culture so when I went on holiday to Dubai a few years back I decided to go to the Wild Wadi water park on a womans only night, something I had never experienced. So as I was outside, there were women all in black. Once inside. The skimpiest of bikinis/full on make up and loads of jewellery. Not very suitable for water rides but ya know :p I felt overdressed in a shirt and legging type pants!

  4. Hello Susie,
    Would you be up for an interview?
    I am a journalist; I sent you an email yesterday about it.
    Please let me know as soon as possible.
    Your point of view is incredibly interesting and it would be great to talk to you.
    Thanks a lot

  5. I can't access the video but as far as I have seen women in Saudi dress especially for other women as men other than immediate family can't see their clothing. Women in Saudi spend lots of $$$$$ on clothing to impress other women and are far more concerned with impressing other women than any other group of women I know.

  6. Which woman feels she has a 'choice' in what to wear?

  7. @ Suzanne: are you sure???? I wear the niqab, and looks that you have no idea how much we niqab wearers care about what we wear. It's one of the reasons I hate the place I come from. Unfortunately our niqab hides nothing bright for us despite what most people think of it. We care about every ridiculous thing. We look for every stupid thing to care about. I cant stand that life any longer.

    I'm going to the UK soon, and to be honest one of my teachers told me to wear.. anything. Just anything. He assured me that I will be wearing 'fancy' clothes compared to most of the women I will see there. So.... maybe you're wrong.

    I would like to take my niqab off. I would like to take my hijab off. I would like to live!

    Please dont say I'm crazy. Everyone practises FGM in my hometown. I can't forgive my people for doing that. FGM sounds like a good reason to leave, and just shows how much women of my society suffer in this part of the world.

  8. Thanks sweet like chocolate (i love your name) I suppose I am quiet naive when thinking of Islamic dress and forget you are unveiled amongst other women. Isn't it funny still how we dress for others and even in Western cultures I feel sometimes our choice of dress is based on society around as.

  9. I think it's interesting that no one has commented on the "male domination" aspect of the cartoon.

    To Shy Rellious Arab Girl - We need to talk - Please email me at

  10. Hello Shy Rebellious Arab girl I am very naive of your culture and the care you take with what you wear, and I enjoy the freedom I have with my life so I dont think you are at all crazy wanting to leave. What I am really just trying to say is I want women to be confident in who they are and feel they dont need anyone to complete them. Believe me I come from a family of in laws that still think women should be seen and not heard and that our men folk are always right and should be waited on no matter the circumstances and we must never complain but listen to their complaints and understand them so I am just trying to strengthen my voice for women in our culture as well. What our culture does allow is that we can stand up for ourselves which is a wonderful thing.

  11. I love this comparison. So, true....

  12. Sweet Like Chocolate - I thought FGM was outlawed in KSA??? Was I wrong? I also didn't think it was practiced as much in MENA countries other than those in Africa. I guess I was mistaken?

  13. My comment to Sweet Like Chocolate should have been directed to Shy Rebellious Arab Girl.

  14. Ok, Susie, I'll say it then. I don't believe that 'male dominated' has anything at all to do with the way that women dress in the 'west' but I DO think that it has everything to do with the way women in KSA dress. What they wear under the abaya, however is for other women. I don't care who it is or what they are wearing but if they are dressing to please anyone other than themselves then I feel sorry for them.

  15. Love people who can tell their ideas clearly. Thank you.

  16. Wendy - Arab girl is not from KSA, but from yet another Arab country.

  17. The issue is one of choice. Despite the claim that the West is male dominated, women can and do choose what to wear most of the time. Women in the West dress more for, and in competition with, other women than for their men. However, certain jobs, such as fire, police and medical require uniforms. For the office worker the Western business suit is the “uniform.” There is hardly anything more conservative than a properly fitting suit. In general, people dress according to their social class and the time of the year as well as the venue.

    The Muslim/Arab obsession with the bikini is sheer, over the top nonsense. The only place that I have ever seen a woman on the street in a bathing suit was on streets running parallel to a beach. Western women do NOT wear bikinis when out and about. Quite frankly, most of them are too fat to pull it off—just like Muslim, especially Arab women. (If they wore bathing suits they would gross everyone out.) Even in beach towns there are signs on shop windows that people must be properly dressed to enter. That goes for both genders.

    “No shirt, no shoes, no service!”

    If one is staying in a resort, one may NOT walk through the hotel lobby or other public areas from the swimming pool in bathing attire. Often there are signs that say so. The Brits may do that in Dubai, but it is considered RUDE and against the rules in more Westernized regions of the world.

    Places of worship often have signs posted of proper attire in order to enter. Typically that means no shorts or skimpy tops, no hats for men, no bare feet.

    With the proliferation of the internet and social media, Muslim women will learn that they have been lied to by their men and their societies in an effort to control them. People in the West do not have sex in the streets, as is always claimed by Arabs.

    There are web-cams in almost every major city worldwide. Muslim women can easily see how people dress and behave on the streets of the world.

    No one will arrest a man and woman together, if they are not related or married. They do hold hands or walk arm in arm. Adult women do not have chaperones. They can go anywhere, at anytime without problems. It is NORMAL for men and women to move together through life in a gender mixed society.

    Check it out:

    Marianne (for some reason I can't put in my name)

  18. @ Shy Rebellious Arab Girl from Marianne

    Sorry, but your male teacher is giving you bad advice, based on his Arab-male fantasies.

    While you are free in the West to wear just about anything that you desire, if you want to be seen as a lady and treated as one, do try to dress like one. Western men in general are not as disrespectful and obnoxious as are Arab men, but understand that you will be judged by what you wear, at least until people get to know you. First impressions count! If you wear Islamic garb you will feel out of place and may get hostile looks and comments. That is especially true in the UK because they harbor so many Islamist extremists. In the US that will rarely happen, while continental Europe is generally somewhere in the middle. The more terror attacks, the more people object to Muslim dress, especially the full veil, burqa and niqab. Hijab is seen everywhere and generally not an issue.

    The UK is at once very liberal (read: “everyone” of a certain class dresses like a slob) and very conservative (“everyone” in a particular strata of society dresses elegantly). Did you watch the royal wedding? The clear-cut, social differences could be seen in the crowds. Some people dressed in conservative suits, while others looked like they were going to clean the garage, with everything in-between.

    If you visit continental Europe, especially countries like France, Italy and Germany be prepared to “compete” with the most elegantly dressed women. In France few women go to the mailbox without being well dressed and madeup. Others dress very casually, but still try to be chic. In the Latin countries women dress and often wear lots of makeup. The most casual/sloppy attire is seen in both the US and Australia. Young women are of course, very fashion conscious and dress at either extreme, conservative, normal or simply outrageous.

    Still, the difference is that you will have a CHOICE as to what to wear. No man will force you to wear a bikini or niqab (well, perhaps a Muslim might). Best of all, you will NOT be harassed and assumed to be a whore if you do choose to wear skimpy clothing. If any male is rude, then tell him off and he will most certainly back-off. In general, in the West only criminal-predators harass women. Certainly men look, that is the nature of life; but, they do it in good fun, with flirting in mind and not because they are sex-obsessed, sex-starved barbarians desperate to give you their phone numbers or trying to get a free feel by following and surrounding women.

    BTW—heavy makeup and lots of jewelry may be all the rage in KSA, however, that is the mark of a cheap, loose woman in the West. Right now cleavage is in fashion. Do not be surprised that many, otherwise very conservative women wear outfits that are considerably décolleté.

    Wear what makes you feel attractive and comfortable within social norms; be yourself and have a wonderful, liberated time!


    (Still won't take my name.)

  19. I'm sure it is the same problem for women, it just takes different shapes. As a man though, I would just like to point out that most women try to impress other women before they impress men. Men don't care what the women are usually wearing.
    A woman can impress a man in worn out jeans or a designer dress.

    I don't want to sound rude, but I just find women are more comfortable around men sometimes.

  20. @Marianne you rock...

    As you well said women DON'T go aroud in skimpy bikinis and in many seaside town (in Italy) you can't go around (you get fined) in bikinis unless you are on the beach or on the road parallel to it.

    What always amaze me is that one of the biggest market for high end dresses are the Gulf countries...women wear the nijab because the want to be modest but where no man is around each of them is trying to impress their women friends with dresses.

    There's something in arab man, in their home country it seems that when they seen a naked part of a woman they could go crazy with lust but when they are in a western country they behave and interact normally with women

  21. Marianne - I understand what you've said here. Thank you!

    Mimi (the Shy Rebellious Arab Girl)

  22. Mimi said...”Marianne - I understand what you've said here. Thank you! 

Mimi (the Shy Rebellious Arab Girl)”

    Thank you, Mimi, but trust me, you will not really understand until you have all of your God-given rights and freedoms when in the West.
    You will come to understand that women in your part of the world are the real sex objects; that and only that. For all too many men, the women of their society have no other worth; which is very, very sad because it makes men nothing but slave-masters and whore-mongers if they do not see their women as equals, as the other half of the human race.

    Today there appeared yet another article in Arab News written by and about women with the endless complaints as to how poorly they are treated:

    ‘Grounded’ by circumstances, women say single status is nothing but a curse

    Adult women are treated like children or worse, like slaves. Imprisoned in their homes, unable to even go to the store, to drive a car, to get an education, to do anything at all in life without a mahram.

    I found this quote to be most revealing: ”Bayan Shakeel, 28, said: “You get followed while walking down a bazaar. We always have to keep male relatives to protect us. This is clasping my freedom and cutting off my wings. I wish people would view us in higher regard, because all this leaves us disappointed. It builds up frustration and renders us hopeless.”

    The incessant claim that Muslim women are “precious jewels, who need to be protected, “ is an unmitigated lie! If Arab and other Muslim males had better manners and a higher regard for women, then the women would not need protection.

    Life in the West will be a revelation to you, Mimi. Of course, there are criminals, but we are talking about normal men, which is the majority. They DO NOT harass women just because they can or for how they are dressed.

    Western women are free to do anything and go anywhere, at any time without a man. Most men are gentlemen and treat women with great respect. No man, unless he is a criminal, will follow you down the street and harass you. Little girls go to school alone; young women study and shop or go out alone or with their women friends, without male escorts; adult women go to work and to recreate alone; family women take their children wherever they need to be, alone; old women go anywhere they desire alone—all without being veiled and without problems or fear of being or harassed or attacked by lecherous men who have nothing on their minds but women.

    It is simply a mystery why half of the population allows itself to be treated like this? It is an even bigger mystery why your men support such a gender-apartheid system? Why do they not have any guilt about treating their women in such an uncivilized manner?

    What is not a mystery is that by making half of the population slaves, nothing gets done in Muslim countries. There is no progress. Keeping women down is the single greatest reason why most Arab/Muslim nations are so backward and poor. The oil wealth of Saudi would be useless if the expatriates did not work to process it. Saudi would come to a grinding halt if all of the expats left.

    Reading Gulf newspapers is like looking back in time into the dark-ages. Story after story of how women are mal-treated and how corrupt and inefficient the system is. There are photos of the men dressed comfortably, many even in western clothing in the searing heat, while the women look like lumps, wrapped into black-trash-bags.

    I hope that when you finally visit the West, Mimi it will become clear to you why freedom and democracy for all, while not perfect, is the only way to make progress, have peace and prosperity. Do go into the English countryside, visit the great houses and gardens, the museums, the concert halls, the shops, restaurants and cafes. If at all possible, visit the high culture of continental Europe. The world will open to you!


  23. Just want to say i'm a young educated Muslim girl, studying to be a doctor and I wear the hijab by my choice, my parents are not muslim and I am of an anglo background. My hijab is my identity and I feel liberated, I am no longer suffering from clinical depression, hijab has saved me. Not everyone is forced.