Most Saudi women seem to choose to wear what I like to refer to as the “trailing abaya.” This is an abaya which is so long that the hem trails on the ground behind them as they walk. Most of the Saudi women who choose a trailing abaya are more conservative and wish to ensure that their ankles remain obscured. These same women are more likely to wear a full niqab and face veil as well.
I learned to respect the choices of Saudi women and how they feel most comfortable in covering when out in public. However I also want to point out observations I have seen with women who have chosen the trailing abaya. First and foremost, the trailing abaya picks up all the dust, dirt and germs which are in its path. Even if the woman washes her abaya each day, she is likely bringing a lot of the dust, dirt and germs into her own home. What if she is wearing such an abaya and chooses to visit a sick relative or friend in a hospital? It is very unlikely she would be removing her abaya so the dust, dirt and germs is also carried into a sick patients room.
There are additional safety hazards to the woman and others caused by wearing a trailing abaya. I have not only personally observed a trailing abaya getting caught in an escalator but know one woman very well to whom this happened. She did not want to remove her abaya even though she was aware it was caught in the stairs of the escalator. She was not happy but to avoid an even more serious accident, the abaya had to be torn from the back in order to release her. In the meantime, others on the escalator were starting to fall over each other because of the incident.
I have also seen trailing abayas get caught up in the wheels of shopping carts at the grocery stores. Women have stumbled and fallen down stairs due to their trailing abayas and especially when someone else has been behind them and accidentally steps on the abaya. The trailing abayas have been a danger at airports too where many of the planes still require passengers to go up or down stairs to get in or out of the aircraft. I’ve felt sympathy for the Saudi woman in the trailing abaya with veil who is trying to manage carry on luggage, a small child or two and safely manipulate the stairs.
In my own view, it is far more safer and practical to have an abaya which comes down to the ankles. After all, a woman can wear dark shoes and socks which shield her ankles from view and protects her from a serious accident.
Filed under: abbya, culture, Dress, gender, Health, islam, safety, Saudi Arabia, Saudi blogs, Saudi culture, Saudi customs, Saudi education, Saudi Living, shopping, travel, Uncategorized, Women Issues Tagged: | abaya, blogging, culture, culture shock, customs, gender, gender issues, heritage, islam, KSA, places, religion, Saudi, Saudi Arabia, Saudi culture, Saudi customs, travel