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A typical short American hairstyle

The United Arab Emirates has launched a campaign to raise awareness among girls of “the dangers of appearing as men,” and “emphasizing the virtues of being female.” The campaign is titled “Pardon me, I’m a girl.”

Why does the UAE need to encourage girls to be girls? Well, “Locals attest to a growing trend of Emirati girls who cut their hair short, dress and talk like men.”

It doesn’t sound to me like these girls want to be like men—-it sounds like they want to be like American girls. But experts remain confused:

Muna Al-Bahar, senior executive adviser of the social program at the Emirates Foundation, which is helping finance research on this topic, said she has seen this quite often among her female university students.

“Some of the girls I taught in my classes were like this; they behaved like boys but they denied they were like boys,” she said.

“From a brief discussion and reading the proposal for the research, I get the sense they see it as gender identity confusion, because after they finish school, these girls get married, have kids and settle down,” Al-Bahar said.

“Sometimes it’s a gender identity crisis, and maybe they feel that if they’re like boys they will be more powerful,” she told The Media Line.

Since research is still in its initial stages it is difficult to pinpoint the reason for this growing trend of female cross dressing in the UAE.

Al-Bahar said it could be a matter of hormonal imbalance, a psychological problem or even just a matter of peer pressure that will vanish by itself when the girls graduate and start a new life elsewhere.

Or, cutting your hair, wearing pants, and speaking out is not, in fact, a “problem,” and doesn’t have anything to do with a desire to get married and have kids. Somehow, American women manage to balance their short hair and their childrearing at the same time, while consuming hamburgers and drinking Coca Cola soft drinks. Join us!