Bahrain and Iran - Women’s Attire

When I lived in to Bahrain while in the late 1970s and through the 1980s, I thought Muslim girl were steadily evolving away from the covered heads and black color cloaks (abayas) of earlier decades. I almost never saw someone with a veil over her face.

True, the Khomeini Revolution forced Iranian woman back into dark covering from head to foot, however , even in Iran, faces-without the forbidden makeup-were unveiled.

When I returned to Bahrain towards 2006, after 16 years away, I revealed the changes towards outfit startling. Not more contemporary, as I would have predicted while in the 80s, however distinctly more traditional. In the malls, many girl wore the ankle length dark-colored abaya, however its trend had changed. No longer a cape that covered the head and extended throughout the body, the abaya had transitioned to a black, ankle-length attire, supplemented by a black head covering that commonly included a veil over a face.

Although former students told me that numerous for the veiled woman were from Saudi Arabia, now easily accessible over the causeway that connected the two countries, a lot of Bahrainis dressed the same. “Why the change? ” I asked towards every conversation.

Diverse explanations were proposed, though all centered while in the fact that Muslims felt their faith to be threatened, and outfit became a way of affirming their Muslim identity.

Several suggested that the Khomeini Revolution, the Afghan-Soviet conflict, or the Gulf War of 1990 had triggered the concern. Others proposed that the changing role of women, with much greater involvement into higher education and employment, led them to choose conservative costume to exhibit that a change in to life fashion was not a rejection of the faith.

I returned towards 2009 wondering if the style toward classic attire had intensified. It had not. Perhaps not enough time has passed for a definite conclusion, however , my impression is that fewer lady veil their faces additionally, the abaya has become a more funky outer covering. The cover picture for my book was taken this year and although most of the girls wear an abaya, it’s not the classic sleeveless cape. Wide, embroidered sleeves are clearly visible. Most for the female wear a black color scarf over their hair but during the background are a lot of with revealed heads and no abaya. This is too what I observed during the street and retailers.

Unlike Iran or Saudi Arabia, Bahrain has no laws regulating women’s attire. The pressure to conform to what others are putting on, felt by women everywhere, has a major role into determining dress towards Bahrain. Probably the choices are more complex there due to the fact for the tension among the religiously backed tradition and newer trends that assert a changed role for woman.

Both Saudi Arabia and Iran have laws governing woman’s dress. I had little direct experience with Saudi women’s costume on my recent trip, however , I spent nearly two weeks in to Iran.

As I planned my Iranian trip, I remembered the costume restrictions inaugurated by Khomeini in 1979 and imposed by harsh treatment of woman who protested. With this in to mind, I borrowed an abaya with sleeves and packed several scarves to cover my head. Although I saw similar outfit towards rural provinces, I was out of factor while in the cities, where the lady have largely abandoned the ankle-length chador (abaya). The new style is a knee-length, fitted coat-dress worn over pants. Far from shapeless, this manteau is generally cinched with a wide belt, producing a rather modern and funky look.

Other restrictions enforced on the early Khomeini years are also gone. Make-up is universal, and although a scarf is required by law, inches of hair show on all woman except those towards official positions who wear a uniform black color scarf that fits smoothly around the oval of their face. No faces are veiled.

I eventually abandoned my efforts to attire inconspicuously. When I did not wear my borrowed abaya while in the cities, I was left with my ordinary cotton pants and long sleeved shirts. Provided my head was covered, these were perfectly acceptable by Iranian law, though the light colors I normally wear drew attention in a society where girl universally wear black color colors. Underneath a navy blue manteau, an Iranian college woman may wear blue jeans, but the on the whole effect is black.

This is not true for school girls for whom pastels are the rule. I saw numerous girls, aged perhaps 7 to 14, as they left school or were on their way home and all wore pants covered by a knee length tunic with a head covering for the same color. Each school had its special color. Pale blue and pink seemed to be trendy choices. Are light colors considered suitable only for children, with darker colors indicating maturity? I could just observe.

Muslim female towards all countries dress in to compliance to the Islamic mandate that their bodies be covered from neck to ankles. Although Bahrain and Iran are close geographically, girl apparel quite differently. My tentative conclusion, based on limited time in these two countries, is that women’s attire during the Middle East is diverse and evolving. My tentative conclusion, based on limited time in these two nations, is that women’s apparel while in the Middle East is diverse and evolving.

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