Inside the Middle East
May 16, 2012
Posted: 1106 GMT
Most malls in the UAE have a dress code displayed at entrances. Some Emiratis now want foreigners to respect this dress code.
Most malls in the UAE have a dress code displayed at entrances. Some Emiratis now want foreigners to respect this dress code.

It is not unusual to see (usually female) tourists and expats in Dubai's malls and restaurants dressed in fashions that could be called short, tight, strapless or generally "revealing."

Now some Emiratis are saying Respect Our Culture. An online campaign launched by two Emirati women shocked at the liberal dress code of many foreigners has gained momentum. The hashtag #UAEDressCode is trending on Twitter, local media is asking the question "how short is too short?" and even the British ambassador has weighed in, calling on tourists to respect local culture.

Although the overwhelming majority of those living in this Gulf nation are expatriate, Emiratis themselves are generally conservative and abide by Islamic customs and traditions. Tourism sites welcoming visitors to the country describe it as "conservative but tolerant when it comes to dress code."

Perhaps tolerance has its limits!

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Filed under: Social Media •UAE

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Eaqj   May 16th, 2012 11:31 am ET

Exactly. Tolerance has its limits. The goal is to have a suitable life for everyone living in here.Citizens can't live around people who dress inappropriately.On the other hand, expatriates can manage wearing decent clothes. It's simple. To answer the question "How Short is Too Short?" It's basically from a woman's legs to her shoulders. It all should be covered.

Randy   May 16th, 2012 2:12 pm ET

I am American and have been going to Abu Dhabi on business for the past 5 years. I can confirm that the dress by expats has gottèn VERY liberal and sloppy.

Sarah Isaac   May 17th, 2012 1:34 am ET

The UAE needs to make up its mind where it sits. You build a destination city out of the sand to cater for ex pat tourists and then expect us to compromise our liberal western value system for the luxury of spending our tourist dollar and keeping the UAE economy buoyant . Emirati's need a reality check especially as the majority of them have residences in Europe and can't wait to get their abayas off the minute they take off from the tarmac!

Stradivarius Cain   May 18th, 2012 5:24 am ET

In the West people complain how Muslims don't comply with local laws. This sounds like a little pay back.

Erica   May 19th, 2012 10:56 am ET

It's a difficult balance. The younger generation of Emirati has dreams that would make their parents and grandparents cringe if they ever found out what they were, but the truth is, younger Emiratis are more tolerant and liberal about this kind of thing, simply because they themselves are happy to be more liberal culturally. The time of conservativeness is passing. Across the world, we see expatriate populations growing. Whether good news, or bad news, the fact remains that as a people, you cannot expect everyone to abide by conservative norms everywhere, all the time. It happens within the country itself and other countries, with their own nationals breaking the rules of conservativism because the world is simply more influential cross-culturally and people's opinions, principles and values are influenced by foreigners so much more than ever before, one could safely say. Granted there are limits, however, you either reprimand those who are not dressed respectfully/appropriately according to culture and get on with life, or you decide that you cannot police everyone in an ever developing liberalistic world and soulsearch and adapt with the times accordingly. Europeans, Asians and the Americas have had to do it. Everyone has to do it.

Asha Gidwani   May 19th, 2012 11:15 am ET

Much ado about nothing

As a UAE resident, I can honestly say that the majority of expats dress modestly, unless one considers a show of legs in shorts or dresses generally an inch or two above the knees, or sleeveless tops – as the height of immodest dressing.

This has little to do with liberal dressing, it is the way young people dress everywhere .

There are the few exceptions , many of them summer tourists and a few die hard fans of the sun and sand, who wish to show off their year round tans. Perhaps the mall security could politely guide them to the exit points

While mannequins hang out in the shortest of bikinis and every thing else in between in mall windows, buyers are expected to hide their clothes from view. Not such good news for the retailers.

Mohamed Fazil   January 5th, 2013 3:26 pm ET

This is a good fashion dress site once your try it i am think this site also good please find the links

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