Sunday, March 15, 2015

What to wear when you're all grown up: "Shoes of Saudi Arabia"

leather flats Shoes of Saudi Arabia Dhahran Mall blog
Noof is a 24 year old graduate looking for work. She is from Al-Khobar.
Sarrah and I leave the cafe to look for participants. We find Noof sitting at a gelato shop with a couple other girls.
What are your favourite pair of shoes and why?
Flats, they are very comfortable, because I love to walk. They're comfortable to walk in.
Is there any particular brand that you like?
No, no.
You like any brand?

Do you wear your favoure shoes in public? Why or why not?
They make me feel comfortable.
So you don't care whether you're with your friends or in public, you'll wear your shoes.

How do they make you feel?
I feel more active, more comfortable. I want to socialize with people, I want to walk, I want to meet people.

Now I want you to think of your different kinds of shoes. What do you do in your shoes?
I mostly have flats and sport shoes. I have heels, but they're only for parties and weddings. I don't like it. Because I am a fresh graduate, I am used to going to college in flats or sports shoes. and I like dark colours, brown, blue, dark blue. I don't like bright colours.
That's funny, why?
They get dirty quickly. I buy shoes that are a good price and for them to live long.
With all the women I've interviewed, they either like the bright colours like red or pink or blue, or dark colours. It's never in between.
I think that the ones who like the colours like to get attention.
I laugh and look at Sarrah, who is with me. Like your pink shoes! Or they don't mind getting attention.

How do you think others will see you or judge you by the shoes you wear?
It does reflect your personality - if you are serious if you are active, it does reflect your personality. I think my shoes are formal. I don't like colours, only one colour. I think it's for teenagers, I don't wear high heels.
Except at parties.

How do you think about them in relation to your overall outfit? Your abaya?
My shoes mostly match your outfit.
What about your abaya? Does it have to match that?
Not the abaya, but the bag.
Oooh the accessories!
Yeah. If my shoes are brown, my bag is brown.
I never thought about that!
Yeah because the abaya is always black!
Yeah I never think about my abaya, it's so ugly. But it is black, so it goes with everything.

Do you make sure that you wear a different pair of shoes every time you go out in public?

What do you want your shoes to say about you?
Hmm, that... I'm an organized person.
Sarrah and Noof speak in Arabic together.
I'm not sure.
That you're not a teenager!
My colours have to match, the bright colours are for teenagers. The colours really do reflect your personality.
I'd say that you're a serious person.
Yeah, I'm a serious person.

Clearly not all women the same age think in the same way and discussing these topics with a woman who lives outside of my compound was really insightful. While she does not represent anyone but herself, it just goes to show how diverse women's opinions are, even in this little corner of the country.

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