Hello everyone. I am going to be married soon and my husband is taking a job in Pakistan. I am concerned about how American women are viewed in Pakistan. I am free-spirited, and march to the tune of my own drummer. Will it be necessary for me to dress conservatively when I'm there? I'm by nature a flashy/skimpy dresser. Would I be in danger if I dressed the way I wanted?
Oh and to answer your question more directly, YES I believe you would be in danger if you dressed in a skimpy way. Flashy, skimpy clothes tell men that you are a loose woman, available to all. If you are raped or attacked, the men will say you brought it on yourself by the way you dressed.
It will also bring 'shame' on your husband and his family and may create large problems with the in-laws. If you are living with his family, you will need to save your skimpy clothes for the bedroom.
One of my friends was reprimanded for wearing capri length pajama pants and a t-shirt around the house at night. Her mother in law said it brought shame on the family.
If you're living independently, wear whatever you want inside, but I'd suggest always answering the door in full length pants, a short sleeve shirt and a scarf. If you don't, it is as if you are inviting men to have sexual relations with you.
You will be stared at everywhere you go because you are foreign looking. Many Pakistani men already believe that Western women are loose and are all whores. Prepare to be groped in public by passing men, whether you dress conservatively or not.
For the rest of us Western women living over here, please dress conservatively and don't reinforce the stereotype by wearing skimpy clothes.
You can still be stylish, and sexy, while wearing local Pakistani dress. You just wont' be showing as much skin!
Keep in mind the breasts, hips, butt and any bare skin are all very sexual in Pakistani culture.
Here's the link to a collection of articles I've written about expat life in Lahore. Check out the tips on Safety for Women to get an idea of what you'll be up against. I've been living in Lahore for over three years.
I do wear Western clothes sometimes in posh areas, but I always wear shirts that cover my behind and a scarf.
If you haven't already done so I strongly suggest you read up on the culture there, Islam ways govern a lot of the laws there. It is very different than what you are acustomed to here in the USA. I have been to Pakistan twice for months at a time, But I did were the traditional clothes for two reasons the sun and their customs as well as for my own saftey. The men there are different from here they think about sex and everyhing else in a very different way. On my second trip there my husband who is pakastani punched a guy out because of what he said passing by us....and I was fully dressed and with my head covered. So In Public I would strongly recommend you dress with modest in mind. I even tried wearing my jeans long shirt and a scarf but was looked at as though I had no clothes on. So yeah I would suggest traditional clothhing of Pakistan it will be much safer.
Yes, you will have to dress extremely conservatively, but look on the bright side. The fabrics are absolutely amazing...you can go as creative and luxurious as you want with the colors, styles and type of fabric! Have fun with it!
Hello from Lahore, Long-elusive peace and sanity will soon greet the Pakistani and the expats living here. What do you think? Let us start a campaign to urge the powerful countries to promote bloodless policies. Why kill civilians?
Hello I am an American and I am going to Marry a Pakistani we have decided to move to Islamabad and would like to know the expiriences for an American woman living abroad can you please send me any information that might help me adjust.
Hi, Islamabad is a modern city and culturally its very liberal. There are many foreigners living in Islamabad as being the capital city most of the embassies and consulates are in Islamabad. You won't even have hard time finding work as you would have american passport. Other than work you can join some international NGO or some other organization you keep you busy. The only advice I want to give you is that as soon as you come here and settle please get the job and work before getting into family politics of marriage and make your life miserable so its better to your life busy with work and family. Wish you good luck.
Pakistan is a big country. It depends where in Pakistan you will be relocating to. Of the three major cities, Karachi is the most liberal, Islamabad (the capital city), and then Lahore. But even in these cities it would be advisable for your own safety to dress conservatively: tops not too tight and must fall well below your derriere, no low neckline, no sleeveless dress, always cover legs with jeans or pants, and if you choose to wear tight leggings make sure the top comes right down to your knees at least. Idem for tight jeans.
I have been here for six months now, mainly in Islamabad, and have been dressing in the above described fashion wearing tops that are one size larger than my normal size. I have never wrapped myself up with a large scarf known here as “dupatta” or a “chador”. I have gotten away with half sleeved or even short sleeved tops but never sleeveless. But then, I am an independent free spirit only answerable to myself. I say this, because your husband may have something to say on this issue especially if he is of Pakistani origin. The kind of job he will be doing, his colleagues, your social circle etc. all these factors will have their own dictates. Pakistan is a very conservative and patriarchal country. So as not to create problems for your husband and yourself you will have to behave in a controlled manner.
As it is, there exists a very negative picture of Western women, as libertines who are open game. Not true, of course, but the men here, in general, do tend to interpret smiles and looking straight into their eyes as an invitation to be explored. Also, best not to shake hands, and for that matter hold your husband’s hand in public. In other words, no showing of affection whatsoever, in public.
Good luck and I would love a feedback from you after you have settled down.
@Aseiya, I know this post is several years old, but I’m looking to move to Pakistan from the U.S. and would love to learn more about the group you mentioned. Please let me know where I can join. Thanks!