Tuesday, April 28, 2009

To wear or not to wear...the abayah

"Although many Western women do choose to wear an abaya while traveling in Saudi Arabia, and the Foreign Office recommends "conservative dress," the airline's requirement that female flight attendants consider the abaya "part of the uniform" upon arrival in Saudi Arabia seems excessive. (In 2002, legal action over a similar issue with the U.S. military resulted in the U.S. Senate passing "legislation that prohibited defense officials from requiring female personnel to wear abayas.") Yet the employment tribunal looking into Ashton's complaint "ruled that BMI was justified in imposing 'rules of a different culture' on staff and cleared it of sexual discrimination."" But the article assumes that wearing or not wearing the abayah determines whether one is a feminist or not. (thanks Molly)