‘The abaya unifies and liberates women,’ says Emirati student

Example of dress in the UAE: ‘Business students stand with faculty member Dina Al Alami (center) and Omani guest speaker Aysha Al Wahaibi at a workshop on “Females As Entrepreneurs”.’ Source.

Abu Dhabi: Empowerment, culture, and a sense of belonging are some of the reasons why Maitha Al Memari wears the traditional abaya, not because she is forced to.

Delivering a lecture as part of New York Abu Dhabi’s (NYUAD) TEDx event, Maitha, an Emirati female student at NYUAD addressed some of the misconceptions surrounding the abaya and why Emirati women wear it.

Maitha acknowledged some of the negative perceptions that come with wearing an abaya, but was insistent that when it comes to the Emirati context, wearing the abaya has nothing to do with oppression or being forced to do so.

Abayas represented adulthood for me, I only started wearing the abaya on a daily basis around three years ago, and it made me feel like a grown elegant Emirati woman. The abaya gives me a sense of home, and a sense of belonging. A meaning many people associate the abaya with is a form of oppression, it oppresses women, and disables their freedom of speech. The abaya is also seen as limiting an individual’s expression of personality. Although that might be the truth in some cases, it is not the case in every context, and in the Emirates the abaya liberates and unifies women”…

They look awfully uncomfortable to me: it must very hot there and the dress covers everything but their face and hands, in addition to being pitch black, that absorbs heat.

I am unconvinced, while noticing that the men always wear white.

  • J. C.

    Don’t expect logic from people who’ve been inbreeding for millennia…

  • Not in the West: “The niqab is no doubt sometimes worn by women as a matter of choice, but they wear it often because they have little choice and are coerced. Not long ago there was a case in a medical school that illustrated the point. Four female Muslim students suddenly started to wear it and the authorities were alarmed. Luckily they found a regulation dating from a century and a half ago that was therefore free of all suspicion of religious discrimination, and that required doctors to show their faces to their patients while examining them. The students were told that they must either remove the niqab or leave the medical school, and not surprisingly they chose the former.

    A little later they told the authorities that they had never wanted to wear the niqab in the first place but were intimidated and blackmailed into doing so by some male Muslim students. This was easy for them: all they had to do was inform the parents of the students that they, the students, were behaving in a “loose” fashion, and the parents would withdraw them from the medical school.

    …Among other things, the niqab is symbolic of a strong desire not to integrate in Western society, and not only on the part of the woman wearing it. What is being demanded… is the right not to integrate, to be able to demonstrate not only difference from the society in which one lives but implicit hostility towards it, such as the niqab undoubtedly symbolises, and to be absolved of any undesired consequences of that demonstration, such as not being allowed to attend college.”

    • winniec

      Those women were becoming ‘too Westernized’ so they had to be honour-killed if they weren’t ‘brought under control’.
      Sharia law does not punish honour killing.

  • winniec

    Islamic Stockholm syndrome: “I enjoy being a slave.”

  • simus1

    It relates more to “dad keeping up with the rival Mohamads” in the everlasting who is the better muslim “head of the family” sweepstakes. Sort of a back biting blood sport practiced against those who haven’t yet accumulated enough clout like close relatives who are high ranking members of the local police apparatus and religious establishment.

  • Sharkibark

    Well if I want to wear an oversized flowered mumu and a floppy hat, I can so I really don’t have a problem with this outfit to be honest – at least they’re not covering their face.

    • EarlyBird

      I agree on face not covered, but mumu aren’t a visual symbol of a vicious expansionist political system that will kill you if you refuse to wear the mumu. Mumu are neutral, headbags aren’t, they send a message.

  • occupant 9

    Slavery “liberates” one from responsibility for one’s own care and “unifies” all slaves to the same order.

  • Hard Little Machine

    I can see forearm. Burn the witch.

    • EarlyBird

      Only the fat one wears it properly, no forearm or hair showing. Coincidence that most converts are fat as well.

  • roccolore

    Black potato sacks don’t liberate. They imprison.

  • ntt1

    its a pre-emptive burial shroud. The black doesn’t show the blood stains ,

  • Frances

    I suspect the empowerment only lasts until they are handed over to husbands.

  • just a thought

    wearing the abaya has nothing to do with oppression or being forced to do so. [we just don’t want to be beaten, raped or die. That’s all. I don’t see why Westerners don’t appreciate that it’s a free choice we have to make]”

  • Most people are born in an oppressive society take it as natural. People who do not know what freedom means, having never been free, are easily fooled as to what is “liberating”. Islam is oppression for all Moslems, as well as non-Moslems.

  • Gaian

    They look like a bunch of retards in garbage bags.