As some of you may know, I took a much needed vacation of a lifetime to Dubai, UAE during the holidays (part of the reason for my blogcation). This was an all-encompassing trip to celebrate my birthday, New Year’s Eve, and life in general. The most common question I was asked while away and upon my return was, ‘Did you have to wear those things on your head?’ It’s ok, I am well aware of the impression Americans have of the Middle Eastern culture, but no I did not, and those things are called abayas. The only time I was required to wear an abaya (which was provided) was when we visited the Sheikh Zayed Mosque (pictured above) in Abu Dhabi – one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
The modesty of the culture, however, was certainly a nice change of pace from the racy United States, and it was absolutely refreshing to look around and see a place free of ashy butt cracks, skinny jeans and boobs stacked chin- high at every turn. I relished in it, and respected it. For the most part, women and men were able to dress how they pleased, but many women chose to wear the native garb out of respect for their husbands. Respect…there’s a word you don’t hear often here in the good old US of A. Some of the women wore their thawbs (pictured right) so elegantly and gracefully, I was starting to wonder where I could cop me one, and their shoes were always fly. These women carried themselves in a manner that reflected their status (most Emirates are loaded) and high self worth. In doing so, they showed reverence to, not only their men, but their culture and religion.
Incidentally, as I shared how fascinated I was by some of these women who were completely covered, yet still astoundingly intriguing and beautiful, a male coworker of mine asked, ‘how can a man be attracted to a woman who’s all covered up?’ Although I scoffed at the suggestion that attraction could only come from a visualization, or even sampling of “the goods,” I admittedly wondered the same thing. So as not to show my own implicit agreement with his sentiments, I sarcastically replied, “Maybe by coming to know her and being attracted to her personality.” However, I do also realize that many of the marriages there are arranged, which is another phenomenon I won’t discuss now, but that I would like to address at another time.
Still, having grown up in a country where women are increasingly baring their bodies to the masses, it is sad that we cannot fathom a culture where women and men come into relationship based on an appreciation of beauty that comes from within rather than without.
Ironically, shortly after my return, I happened upon the video below, which gives a rudimentary explanation of how objectification harms women and society in general. It’s interesting that men will fight against the objectification of their mothers, daughters and sisters, but will turn around and unwittingly objectify someone else’s mother, daughter or sister.
Objectification occurs when a person is seen simply as a tool or “object” to be used for one’s own pleasure or gratification. Take a looksy…
Not to sound anti-feministic, but it seems that with freedom came the degradation and objectification of women, and not solely by the opposite sex, but by ourselves, as well. We began to view our bodies differently and downplay the importance and sanctity of our own sexuality. As stated in other articles here, the feminist movement was definitely both a gift and a curse. I’d love to rid our society of its negative effects and cultivate the positive.
Do you think American society is over-sexualized? Does it bother you? For the men, do you think the objectification of women has played a role in how you view and behave towards women? Has this objectification played a large role in the demise of relationships and the rise in divorce rates? Has the belief that “less is more” become obsolete?