Monday, June 27, 2011


Something that really struck me during my visit to Jordan was the variety of fashions within the country.  The common theme was modesty (an influence of Islamic law), but modesty came in a lot of packages.  Some people (men and women) covered with head coverings and large robes over their clothes, but I also saw people in very modern clothing with no head coverings.  Then there was everything in between.  Something I rarely ever saw was short sleeves on the locals, but I even saw that once or twice (especially on the campus of The University of Jordan).  I'm pretty sure I never saw an Arab's knees or cleavage though.

Just a couple of group shots to show the variety of fashion.

Downtown Amman.  I saw every type of fashion here.  There is also a lot of fashions for sale here.  This is the only place I saw a woman completely covered so much so that she had to be led down the street by the hand.
Grocery store in Amman.
In Gregra--a Bedouin community in Southern Jordan.  Young ladies are usually asked to start dressing modestly when they hit puberty.  It's believed that dressing modestly keeps people from lusting for each other.  It is the women's responsibility to maintain the honor of her family and extended family (AKA tribe).  This is very important in this collectivist culture.
This young lady worked at a bazaar in Amman.    She's holding up a Muslim Barbie-type doll.  The doll is wearing a traditional robe/dress and a hijab.  None of the dolls were dressed like this woman, even though the majority of young women I saw in Amman looked like her (and not like the doll).
Women who dress in different styles are often friends.  The woman on the right is Rasha.  She told me that she started wearing the hijab in college and that it was totally her choice.

Nancy is Libyan and is a famous singer in Jordan.  Notice that she if VERY covered for a pop star.   She also very covered in the photos on the inside.
This woman is a Senator in Jordan and was one of our speakers.  Notice that she does not cover her head and is wearing short sleeves.
The first 3 people on the left are students at The University of Jordan.  Notice the variation in styles of dress.  Many of the college students told us that men feel that they can catcall women who are not dressed modestly enough.
This woman was one of our speakers.  She told me that she covers because she wants people to focus on her brains and not her appearance.  She also does not believe that Islamic Law calls for women to dress any more modestly than this.  In other words, she doesn't believe that women need to cover their faces.
The president of the Gregra community center.  Her face is covered in the presence of men if she is not related to them.  She is a Bedouin--the people native to Jordan.
This always struck me as a double standard.  A husband in in jeans and short sleeves with a wife completely covered.  I saw this pretty frequently.  (By the way, I know they are married because you never saw a man and woman together unless they were married.  Most of the time women hung out with women and men with men.  The only exception to this was the university campus).

A dress boutique downtown.
A lot of men wore the white robes because they are cool in the hot sun.  By the way, the red and white head covering indicate that a man is Jordanian.
A group of men hanging out in Amman.  Again, check out the variety of dress.  I saw far more men hanging out on the street than women.  I was told that a lot of men in Jordan are unemployed because they won't take jobs that they feel are below them and should be filled by immigrants.  Men (especially eldest sons) are made to feel very important by their families and tribes.
These guys are playing ball behind a walled area.  (I stuck my camera in between bars on a gate to get the shot).  I never saw any guy walking in the open in a tank top.
Me walking down the street in a hijab.  I had to cover my arms because I was wearing short sleeves.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting Amy! Enjoyed seeing these!