Female Harley Riders in Dubai Defy Arab Archetype
I’m not trying to be a jerk here, but what’s the first impression in your mind when you hear the words, “Arab Woman”? Whatever it is, it’s probably not the image of a strong woman whirling down the highway on a Harley-Davidson.
Okay, maybe I’m a jerk anyways, but I don’t think I’m being dishonest about how we think of Arab women in general. There is an archetype in place, as Public Radio International reporter Amanda Fisher notes in a recent story about female Harley riders in Dubai.
“I realized how many strong women there are here that defy the cliché archetype of the oppressed Arab woman,” says Fisher.
Realizing such, Fisher decided to spend some time with a few of these stereotype-breaking riders. In doing so, she opens my mind to a whole new world, which I never really thought about: female biking in the Middle East.
In the story, one female rider from Yemen uses a pseudonym, Dana Adam. Adam doesn’t want her powerful family to find out she’s riding in Dubai, since it’s not acceptable for a lady to ride in Yemen.
An Iranian woman, Shima Mehri, always wanted to ride, but since it’s illegal for Iranian women to do so, she was unable to. Until she moved to Dubai, that is.
Fisher reports that there’s a thriving, “close-knit” Harley-Davidson chapter in Dubai that’s well represented by female drivers. And men too, of course. They go out riding in mixed groups, partly for safety and partly for fun.
Nothing like a Harley to bring folks together. And nothing like a Harley to celebrate freedom while doing so.
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