Finally, a post about Dubai.
The above picture is a conclusion or a summary, let’s say, of the Dubai consumer. After living in Dubai for the last 20 years of my life I started to recognise a certain atmosphere. Dubai is a bubble of consumerist culture which makes you feel as if you will DIE if you don’t get the latest neon Louboutin pumps. It. is. overwhelming.
I noticed the mass upsurge in young women starting up fashion blogs, paying magazines to feature them in the best-dressed section, networking for invites to fashion shows, and a high number of young arab women applying to go into fashion as a career. This, this, DESPERATION to be heard and seen, DESPERATION to be women who dress to impress. Or rather, dress up to stir up envy in their surrounding female peers.
Why is there such a need to dress up and be seen? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love flicking through Grazia and I love dressing up. I do believe that it is a woman’s right to feel beautiful in her own skin. Taking care of our femininity is part of keeping ourselves happy and confident; it is essential in keeping our gender satisfied with itself. But what the HELL is this obsession?
I guess the high demand in this consumption culture comes from the fact that Dubai is not where the fortune is at but it is where the income gap is as big as it can get. The rich are filthy, filthy rich and the poor? Well, you don’t really see them. That’s how big the gap is. And the rich are many.
In comes the competition for social status.
Due to the high income per capita in my little City and the metropolitan demographics everyone is equal… sort of. The rich are many and there are so many high-income ethnicities that it seems the competition in Dubai is more than just about who holidays in Cancun. It has been taken to the next step: social recognition. Who are the celebrities of Dubai? Yuck, that sounds so cheesy.
I won’t mention any names because if you are living in Dubai and you pick up a magazine every now-and-then you will probably know what I am going to say now. There is this up-surge of the same group of middle-aged women (many of whom are the mothers of people I went to school with even) who continuously pop-up in every beauty magazine produced in this country. Their daughters are either fashion bloggers, go to a fashion university, own a boutique or think they are the lead role of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. What is interesting is that it seems these people are going after a so-called social status of “society-women”. But what is also interesting is that in a metropolis like Dubai, the traditional concept of "society-women" fails to exist due to the high number of high-income earners. Which means that they will have to forcefully create it by marketing themselves continuously; in magazines, newspapers, social media, at events etc.
What’s the problem though, right? So what? To all their own, so, if they like then so be it.
Well the problem is that when you see that 3,000 young girls (statistics from Facebook) from Dubai worship a fashion blogger that is barely 21 years old, and has loads of cash to spend on bags and shoes to last her a life-time, it just encourages the competition. It makes young girls worship them. It makes young girls insecure. It makes them search for happiness in the wrong places. It also encourages them to drop the novels and stare at the screen picking out which new bag she’s going to get. What do we get in the end? A large amount of women that are socially dysfunctional. It makes them feel like appearances is all that matters and that that’s normal! If you flick through Harper’s Bazaar Middle East, you will see 14 year olds holding on to those Valentio sandals (BTW DUBAI, those sandals are hideous, FYI) for dear life. And they think that is the ultimate achievement, getting their friends to Instagram it and upload it to facebook in no-time. “Wowwww babe you look great <3 <3” — Facebook comments are not an achievement, Dubai.
WOMEN OF DUBAI: WAKE UP.
Dubai has become mind-numbing and has made me lazy. All you women with your clothing and fashion competition, trying to be the best at looking like a runway tart. EDUCATE yourselves. Go out there and READ A BOOK for crying out loud. Believe me, at the end of the day, no one who matters will remember what you wore. At the end of the day the only thing that stands is your dignity and your independence as a woman. If you throw that out the window just because you believe social status is more important than self worth—then you lose out.
Good luck Dubai. Good luck.