CDP Theme Day: Contrast

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Saudi Arabia is a land of many contrasts, but perhaps nothing is quite as glaring as the contrast between what men and women wear in public here. While women are clad in black cloaks called abayas, scarves and usually veils, revealing only their hands and eyes, men can wear whatever they want. The traditional garb that men wear is a long white dress called thobe, and either a plain white or red and white checkered scarf called ghotra on their heads. It doesn’t matter how hot the temperature is outside – and it is really hot a good 8 months of the year – women still wear the long black cloaks, which to me, is extremely impractical and borders on cruelty or insanity. I would love to wear a lighter color, but I don’t want to draw any more attention to myself than my rosy cheeks already do! ALL the women wear black here – I think it’s crazy and non-sensical!
City Daily Photo is an online group of photo bloggers representing cities all over the world. The first of the month is always Theme Day. Check out what other bloggers have submitted as their Theme Day entry for this month… Click here to view thumbnails for all participants


About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
This entry was posted in Clothing, Culture, Life, Photo, Saudi Arabia, Tradition and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to CDP Theme Day: Contrast

  1. Noor says:

    Why u americans think the world should dress like you do?
    Glennis said “I once asked a lady why she wore that black gown and she snapped at me that it was her choice, but I doubt that really.”
    Why do u doubt? Abayas r beautiful, elegant, très chic and our cultural dress and we like it. Thats enough, and we like it black. although u can wear any color u want. Please stop wanting for us what u want for urself, we dont want that old jeans and non-fashioned t-shirts! 🙂

  2. john fox says:

    Wearing your abaya is not such a great discomfort. You only wear it when you go outside your home. Then you travel in an air-conditioned car, walk around in air-conditioned Malls or visit other air-conditioned places. You rarely have to walk outside in the heat so there is very little suffering involved. Anyway , it is such a lightweight and ventilated material I cannot understand why you consider it crazy and non-sensical.

    • What’s crazy and non-sensical is that the women all wear black in this heat here. John, have you worn an abaya out in the heat here? Most Saudi women never spend any time outdoors. I like to take photos outside, or go down to the old town, and it’s bloody hot. I do suffer in the heat here and for you to tell me that there is very little suffering involved is crazy and non-sensical, unless you are a woman who has lived here, spent time outside in the heat and doesn’t mind it. I have lived in HOT climates almost all of my life, and the heat has never bothered me as much as since I moved to Jeddah.

  3. Janie of Utah says:

    Wearing black in such a hot land does seem ridiculous. Too bad the tradition isn’t for light colors.

    • Well, the tradition for men is white – the best color to wear in the heat. I wonder who came up with the idea of putting women in black? I think it’s so that they will be less inclined to go out in the heat wearing black, thus keeping the women at home right where the men want them…

  4. Geogypsy says:

    I suppose you’d be considered too sexually attractive in a pretty light color.

  5. very interesting for theme day. it would seem very difficult to wear such hot clothing in the heat. We live in the desert and would never want to wear such clothing as the heat from the desert would be too much.

  6. Glennis says:

    I am sure it is a form of cruelty to women making them wear such garments.
    Nice to see ladies out on the street.
    I once asked a lady why she wore that black gown and she snapped at me that it was her choice, but I doubt that really.

  7. Judy says:

    Good post for the theme. I would have to stay inside all summer. I would pass out in the heat wearing that, I think. Does one get climatized and not feel as hot after a time?

    • I have lived in hot climates almost all my life (Arizona, Texas, Florida, and now Saudi Arabia), and if anything my intolerance of the heat has only gotten worse… (sigh)

  8. BeachILike says:

    Good pick for theme day.

    Happy Theme Day!

    Funny thought of you for this, I like it.

    Happy Theme Day!

    My Bangkok Through My Eyes!
    You got a Posty: I want to give 15 postcards 🙂

  9. ineke says:

    so glad i can wear whatever i want!

  10. Bill B says:

    I agree with you but, I think that I can speak in louder than you can.

  11. We women of the western world take our life for granted but we often forget what other women still have to put up with in many parts of the world. This angers me.
    Thanks for the harsh reminder.

  12. magiceye says:

    great take on the theme!

  13. Jilly says:

    Susie, you’ve perfectly illustrated today’s theme. As you say, S.A is such a land of contrasts.

  14. Jerry M says:

    I can’t blame Saudi women for accepting the status quo. It is often all they know. Given the relative wealth of Saudi Arabia one can easily imagine a Saudi woman looking at Yemen and noting that they are much better off.

  15. Truly huge CONTRASTS between the world of men and the world of women in Jeddah! Great theme day photo, Susie!

  16. Gerald says:

    More and more they seem to be worn over here too.

  17. cara says:

    It seems so harsh – I wonder do other S.A. women get fed up with it or they just accept their lot.

    • Some women are beginning to get vocal about wanting change, but far too many like things the way they are. Many also feel that there is nothing they can do about it and just accept things the way they are.

  18. J Bar says:

    Good theme day post.

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