The Scented Winds of Change: Conflicting Notions of Modesty and Vanity Among Young Qatari and Emirati Women

Wearing modest Muslim dress in public is intended to conceal women’s sexuality and promote a virtuous public domain. Nevertheless, emerging bodily adornment practices in some Gulf region countries serve the contradictory purposes of revealing female wearers and celebrating fashion. We explore the conflicting notions of modesty and vanity embodied in Qatari and Emirati clothing and cosmetic choices in the public sphere. Using insights from in-depth interviews with twenty-four Emirati and Qatari female students we explore the dynamics underlying these conflicting imperatives of virtue and beauty and capture some of the ambivalence inherent in the constructions of female identity and conceptions of the self.


Rana Sobh, Russell Belk, and Justin Gressell (2010) ,"The Scented Winds of Change: Conflicting Notions of Modesty and Vanity Among Young Qatari and Emirati Women", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 905-907 .


Rana Sobh, Qatar University, Qatar
Russell Belk, York University, Canada
Justin Gressell, American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37 | 2010

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