What a girl packs away in her travel bag will all depend on where she’s planning to go. This case is the Middle East. This being said, taking great care in how you dress and act while visiting. What a woman traveler wears and how she behaves will show how locals in turn treat her. A woman well versed in local social etiquette to avoid the long stares and unwarranted cat calls and hisses that go along being inconsiderate.
Keep in mind that the less skin showing the better. The year-round weather in most Middle Eastern areas usually no lower than 50F and can get up to an uncomfortable 115F (one considering the humidity levels which can make it feel much warmer). Staying cool in clothing that covers you from head to toe will be challenging.
In these modern times, it is much easier to find women’s clothing that is both comfortable and covers most of your body. The designs are getting better and the fabric is becoming more technologically advanced. Caprilene is one of the greatest things available these days. The designers are also making clothing out of these lighter and water whisking recycled polyester. It’s a green product as well. If you would like to really blend in to the local culture check out a tailor or local clothing market and buy a Hijab while you are visiting. People will appreciate the gesture and it may lead to more interaction with the locals.
The women of Islam are usually required to dress in a hijab by law of the state and/or by their family. The hajib has been a topic of discussion in many countries and has often lead to heated debates about when women should wear them, if they should banned, if the law requires women to wear them and what are they acceptable styles. Women travelers need to have an understanding of local social codes. This knowledge will help to avoid disrespecting the local population. It is a very highly politicized subject which requires a traveler, male or female, to educate themselves and be aware of current events popping up which surround the very sensitive subject.
It is well-known that women in a moderate to strict Muslim society must follow the rules of Islāmic laws or face the consequences. It is important to remember that we travelers are just visiting and must respect local codes of conduct.
On the other side, we are like embassadors from our own countries. The way we behave in public while visiting may have a long reached effect on how locals view our country. We should want to make the best impression since most of the time the country’s media and the movies and television shows exported to the country are the only exposure they have to a country like the United States. All media takes an extreme perspective on a culture or group of people. This being said, act on your best behavior.
This means, act on the side of caution. It is best to be self aware and not get lost in and forget what surrounds you. We all have those moments were we start getting comfortable with our surrounds. So much, that we behave as if we are back in our own country. Stay focused and always remember where you are and concentrate on what surrounds you. This will also keep you out of harms way.
Here is more information on gender roles in different societies.