Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oh Boyah

Thanks very much to my chum at 7Days newspaper for helping clarify what the crackdown on "boyat" will mean in Dubai.  You can read the paper's informative article here

Bad PR move, authority chaps. One of the ways Dubai attracts incomers from all over the world is by painting itself as a tolerant society compared with others in the region.  It can't really call itself that if women who like to dress a bit blokily risk being taken off by the cops for a good telling off and then being jailed if they fail to reform.

Mind you, it seems that this is largely aimed at young women, ie students, and young, Emirati women at that.  As I've said before, if you're a reasonably affluent ex-pat, you can do what you like within reason as long as you do it within the privacy of your own home or don't annoy a local person or someone in authority by doing it. There's also a perception that locals that get in trouble with the law are likely to face a less harsh punishment than ex-pats and poor migrant workers, but I suspect that may not be the case in these circumstances.  

The police officer quoted in 7Days implies that boyat are sexually attracted to other girls.  Obviously in a more tolerant society, he would know that girls who dress a bit blokily, don't always necessarily like other girls, some just like to dress blokily.  Being gay is illegal in Dubai, though, so, it would appear that this is a crude attempt to stamp out lesbian tendancies among the Emirati youth which makes it rather more than a bad PR move.

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