The Sexist

The United Arab Emirates Doesn’t Like My Haircut

A typical short American hairstyle

The United Arab Emirates has launched a campaign to raise awareness among girls of "the dangers of appearing as men," and "emphasizing the virtues of being female." The campaign is titled "Pardon me, I'm a girl."

Why does the UAE need to encourage girls to be girls? Well, "Locals attest to a growing trend of Emirati girls who cut their hair short, dress and talk like men."

It doesn't sound to me like these girls want to be like men—it sounds like they want to be like American girls. But experts remain confused:

Muna Al-Bahar, senior executive adviser of the social program at the Emirates Foundation, which is helping finance research on this topic, said she has seen this quite often among her female university students.

"Some of the girls I taught in my classes were like this; they behaved like boys but they denied they were like boys," she said.

"From a brief discussion and reading the proposal for the research, I get the sense they see it as gender identity confusion, because after they finish school, these girls get married, have kids and settle down," Al-Bahar said.

"Sometimes it's a gender identity crisis, and maybe they feel that if they're like boys they will be more powerful," she told The Media Line.

Since research is still in its initial stages it is difficult to pinpoint the reason for this growing trend of female cross dressing in the UAE.

Al-Bahar said it could be a matter of hormonal imbalance, a psychological problem or even just a matter of peer pressure that will vanish by itself when the girls graduate and start a new life elsewhere.

Or, cutting your hair, wearing pants, and speaking out is not, in fact, a "problem," and doesn't have anything to do with a desire to get married and have kids. Somehow, American women manage to balance their short hair and their childrearing at the same time, while consuming hamburgers and drinking Coca Cola soft drinks. Join us!

  • Conrad Davis

    American cut-ural imperialism ...hyuk hyuk

  • Mr. Blash

    Not only do they not like your hair, your employment options and basic rights are extremely limited in the Arab world. Try to get a driver's license in Saudi Arabia, or a divorce in Syria and you'll discover your hair is the least of your issues!

  • Amanda Hess

    Yeah, really. Why are these women acting like men!? Oh, maybe they want rights?

  • Carol

    I live in Dubai and work directly with Emirati teens. It is not some sort of hormonal imbalance or major cultural crisis. It is a reaction to the ultra feminism of other teenage girls. You should see the big hairdos, layers of eye makeup and stilleto shoes that many Emirati girls wear. I'd cut my hair and wear tennis shoes, too. Also, we are not talking about truly looking masculine. Any hair that does not reach the person's waist is considered short. I have yet to see a single Emirati woman with a masculine haircut. This is not gender confusion, transexualism, or homosexuality. It is simply a small level of rebellion against pressures to be hyper-feminine.

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