Dubai UAE Dress code for Traveler
In June 2012, two Emirati women began a twitter campaign calling on foreign visitors to respect their culture and adhere to an existing dress code.
Hannan Al Rayyes and Asma Al Muheiri launched their UAE Dress Code page on Twitter because they were "tired of seeing tourists in beachwear or revealing outfits in shopping malls".
Too many girls in the malls were "wearing shorts so short they looked like hot pants", Ms Al Rayyes said.
Their first followers tweeted last week about their "disgust" at seeing foreigners dressed inappropriately.
"We don't want people to start wearing the abaya or anything. We're just asking them to cover up parts of the body that are sensitive to our culture," she said.
There are already laws setting out the dress code, and signs at the entrances to malls – but Emiratis believe those laws are not being enforced.
According to the UAE‘s The National, Lt Col Mohammed Rashid Al Muhairi, from Dubai Police's Tourist Security Department (TSD), said it was important that the millions of visitors who come to the UAE each year understand local laws and culture.
"We have to take into consideration that there are a lot of nationalities coming here, which means we have to be flexible".
He said it was police policy to only approach those whose outfits "border on nudity".
Emirati politicians are now considering a new law to enforce the dress code for foreigners.
Meanwhile on Twitter, UAE Dress Code now has over 2000 followers. Many of them saying foreign visitors need to "respect our culture".
So What's Acceptable Dress in Dubai?For women it means covering the shoulders and the knees (and everything in between). Spaghetti straps will raise eyebrows.
You don‘t have to hide your figure, as you do in Iran or Saudi Arabia, but tight-fitting clothing is a no-no.
There‘s no law requiring you to cover your hair with a scarf (unless you‘re entering a mosque).
Men should be wary of shorts, knee-length is considered modestly acceptable.
T-shirts with strappy shoulders or very low V-necks will get you some attention you don‘t need (there goes your wardrobe of Bintang singlets from Bali!).
Don‘t wear women‘s clothing (visibly) – that‘s sure to get you arrested.
Both genders should keep sports clothes on the sports field, including cycling shorts (name me a culture where cycling shorts are NOT considered offensive!)
What if My Dress Offends in Dubai?A Janet Jackson-style wardrobe malfunction will see you explaining yourself to police.
If what you‘ve chosen to wear doesn‘t quite meet the dress code, expect to have an Emirati woman come up to you and tell you so. Don‘t argue with her, apologise and either cover up straight away or promise to go and cover up as soon as possible. If you argue the police will come. You may not be arrested for arguing (except if you swear), but you could be charged with "offending public decency", and the word of the Emirati woman will trump you every time.
The Bikini IncidentIn 2010, a British woman was arrested after she argued with an Arabic woman who‘d accosted her about her bare shoulders. The British woman‘s response was to strip down to her bikini, right there in the shopping mall. She spent 3 days as a ‘guest‘ of Dubai police before she got a dressing-down (pun intended) from a judge and the charges were dropped (also pun intended).
Again, in Sharjah and Ajman breaking the code will be dealt with more seriously.
To those whining about the 'dress code': it should be fairly obvious that the rules are extremely generous and designed to be very accommodating. For example the signs say cover your shoulders - and the picture clearly shows no problem with the upper arm being uncovered. also head coverings are not required. From an Islamic perspective this level of dress completely goes against the dress code and culture of the middle east. Yet, the Emiratis tolerate it.
Also alcohol. Against the law for Muslims to drink and Emiratis themselves can be lashed for this. Yet non-Muslims are allowed.
This allowance is not greed, it is a form of tolerance that comes from Shariah law and is unusual to westerners who are used to one law for all.
I wouldn't visit a place with a strict dress code if I personally don't agree with it. I am undecided if dress codes are ever really necessary and concerned how nudity or the human form is always sexualised. I value freedom of expression including through fashions. If you don't agree with the rules or dress code you should not visit the place. It saddens me that in some cultures body shaming and oppression still exist but I fear it always will, especially where women are still considered as possessions and emotions such as jealousy and fear control behaviour. Judgement of ones sexual life choices should never be based on clothing but that is my opinion. I dream of a time when everyone has freedom of choice and freedom from judgement wherever they are. No matter how hard I think about it I still have no idea why it causes 'offence' to see someone else's body weather it be in clothes or not. I think it only offends because it is breaking a rule and people don't like (feel emotions) when they see someone break a rule. The question for me is why was the rule made in the first place? Was it to do good?? Or just restrict people's choices and control them?
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