Traditional outfits and modest clothing are being abandoned in favor of sleek new styles for this generation of youth in Iraq. For both young men and women, they are beginning to adopt western styles of fashion. This means skin tight jeans and high heels for girls, and slacks and spiky hairdos for guys. While the youth are enjoying more freedom with their wardrobe selection, the transition is a nightmare for the older generation who feel that customs and tradition are being abandoned in favor of what is hip and popular.
A few clerics, however, find the fashion sense to be in violation of religious morality and have took it upon themselves to dispatch a group of security guards to assume the role of fashion police and crack down on youth who dress provocatively.
Posters have also been displayed warning people, especially women, to dress conservatively and to be covered from head to toe. Posters have also reminded women to wear a head scarf.
Some residents in Baghdad have even petitioned for a law to pass to require women to be veiled when walking in public areas. The government, however, has been in support of personal freedoms and even ordered posters that enforced dress codes to be removed.
By law, women are only required to wear a headscarf when entering a mosque. Outside, however, they are encouraged to wear one out of modesty though it is certainly not against the law not to wear one.
Western styles have become more prominent ever since the U.S. invasion that lead to the topple of Saddam Hussein’s regime. More women are beginning to abandon their head scarves and favor tight fitting clothing. Men are also beginning to break from tradition by getting tattoos and piercings.
There is a clear division between the youth who value personal freedom and the older generation who maintain that traditional customs and respect for religion must be adhered to.