Moving on in our week of culture shock photos, here are some differences in clothing.
Here are two members of Girls Run 2 (in the blue scarf and in the blue jeans) and their relatives, doing what they do before school most days.
And then there was Naked Cowgirl in Times Square (not my sister, the two women behind her). Don’t see a lot of those in Djibouti. I know her name was Naked Cowgirl because that’s what the sign she hung around her guitar said.
What I wear differs depending on my location, too.
In Minnesota on a warm day it was a tank top, a baseball cap I stole from my brother, and super short shorts (not shown and not as short as Naked Cowgirl’s).
In Djibouti, going to a conservative part of town, it was a long dress and a scarf. Though in all honesty, I don’t often cover my hair in Djibouti.
The culture shock part seems to come in the first time I wear those short shorts out and people see my legs when I’m not even at the beach. Or when the scarf keeps falling off. It also comes in when my Minnesota-bred mind sees the well-dressed women running errands in Djibouti and thinks they look dolled up enough to go to a dinner party. And then again when my Djibouti-taught mind sees women in yoga pants or jogging shorts when they aren’t exercising and I wonder why people are wandering around downtown Minneapolis in their pajamas.
How do you experience culture shock through the clothing you see and/or wear?
I unconsciously count the number of women I see in shorts. After about 10 I remember I am in the US. It is also surprising to see people wearing color in the winter. Here is Turkey the vast majority wear black jackets and black slip on shoes. Once we were in a meeting with some visitors to Turkey and you could tell who was a visitor and who lived there just by their shoes.
I am experiencing my first trip back from Dubai. Even though Dubai is a far cry from Djibouti there is still a strong element of conservative dress. I think the short shorts and the gym clothes not in the gym have “shocked” me. I find even wearing short sleeves is uncomfortable…might just be my 60 year old arms though…
Even though I am born and bred in the US, I still get “culture shock” seeing all the itty-bitty shorts girls wear! The other day at a Starbucks, I saw a girl who basically wore denim panties… I hope that never becomes un-shocking to me. haha 😉
Growing up in a Muslim country the first time I ever wore shorts in public was at 19 years old in Chicago and I was so uncomfortable. I couldn’t believe that my friends were so confident. How could they show their LEGS that way???? Then a year and a half ago when I was diagnosed with melanoma and the resident was doing a history on me before surgery he asked me about sun exposure. I looked at him and said emphatically “These legs grew up in a Muslim country – they have not seen the sun but once or twice in their lives. It is singularly unfair that these legs have melanoma….” he wasn’t sure what to say so he started asking me about where I grew up. Now everytime I go in the story gets repeated!
These are the things that are so hard to explain to folks which is why I love your pictoral depiction of culture shock!
Nursing mothers pulling their tops down in public whenever they want to. No covering up. The first time my husband encountered this, he was preaching, and when he looked up from reading the scripture passage four women in the front row were nursing. He did a quick eye shift and reminded himself that this is normal for Panama.
Now it doesn’t bother him, but sometimes it surprises both of us.
This is happening in Houston now. Women are allowed to breastfeed anywhere/how they want. I don’t have a problem with breastfeeding, but I admit it is disconcerting to see a woman walking through a fancy mall with her breast hanging out.
[…] in Africa with her family. She is posting on culture shock in pictures this week, including clothing and my personal favorite, grocery stores. Again, the issue of food came up. I thought back to Lao […]
I was getting ready for a trip to Spain recently. While deciding what to wear, I tried on a knee length dress. Seeing my own knees in the mirror was quite shocking. Then I was on a beach in the Mediterranean with my same knee length dress while most other women were topless with little bikini bottoms. Overdressed or underdressed- it’s all the context. 🙂
I wrote on my blog about the clothing challenges we have transitioning between ministry in Japan and Australia, not as big as the difference between the US and Djibouti, but there nonetheless. http://mmuser.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/culture-shock-in-clothing.html
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This looks so beautiful , will surely try this.