The United Arab Emirates is launching a campaign to fight women who dress as men, according to a report in the German press agency and several Arab news outlets.
The government campaign was launched on Wednesday under the title, “Pardon me, I’m a girl.”
It was scantily reported in a couple of local publications. The Media Line was unable to get official confirmation to this campaign.
According to news reports, the Social Affairs Ministry said the campaign was aimed at making girls more aware about the dangers of appearing as men and emphasizing the virtues of being female.
Locals attest to a growing trend of Emirati girls who cut their hair short, dress and talk like men. MEDIALINE
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.
“We’re starting to see it more now than previously and I think it’s due to the openness of the society to acceptance of societal non-traditional behavior,” she said.
The campaign will continue until the end of the year Husein A-Sheikh, director of social custody in the ministry told DPA.
It will include study groups and lectures in educational institutions calling on girls to give up this practice and stick to their feminine nature.
It will also explain to mothers the reasons that lead their daughters to appear as males and how to stop them from practicing this.
A team including psychologists and social experts has been set up to implement the campaign.
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