Musings from Bahraini entrepreneur, design agency creative director and magazine editor, Wafa Alobaidat
Unfortunately, it comes as no shock to us how much negative energy is being transmitted from one Khaleeji woman to another. It sometimes feels like a negative unbreakable spider web twisted together into a confused mess that spreads all over the GCC. We’re all tangled up by this intense web. It’s all about who hates who? Who is mad at whom and who’s copying who? Which causes one to think, why do we hate?
In Bahrain, it’s no secret that everyone knows everyone. Circles of friends overlap with others to the extent it feels like everyone is related and you can’t even go to your local hair salon without bumping into someone you were trying to avoid at yesterday's party.
Despite a large number of us going to great schools, traveling aplenty, and are informed in different fields, we all end up in the same cycle. We start attending the same events and talk about the same things.
When a new trend bursts on the scene, it is word of mouth that spreads it like wildfire; and these trends are easily spotted on the island. I remember the bakery craze back in 2011, followed by a cupcakes phenomenon that is now deemed old fashion. Jalabiyas and abayas followed, which were then overshadowed by burger joints and fro-yo's, as well as the short lived bubble tea movement at one point.
Why do we and our businesses alike all 'cycle' together with very few innovative concepts being introduced into the scene? The lack of platforms is one answer. There are too many people doing the same thing, with very few people going off to explore their own path.
What tends to happen is women start to overlap their projects and their passions with one another, and the competitive gene starts to kick in. Don't get me wrong, I am not better than a lot of competitive Arab women sometimes and I do find myself stuck in this 'cycle' discussing these same trends with the same people but I also feel proud knowing I have my carved out my niche in an industry I am most passionate about. I have given myself a platform where I can be innovative and where I don't overlap with others in my cycle.
Due to the nature of that path, I find myself more secure about where I belong in society and confident in what I do. In a way, I have created my own cycle and it embraces rather than overlaps. The result of my choices are that I don't feel so threatened or negative, quite the contrary, I feel full and happy in the area I have created for myself.
I guess the moral of the story is for us women to get better at getting along with each other by creating our own niches and not getting too carried away with other cycles. We need to be less judgmental and angry when others pursue their passions and surpass us.
Bask in the happiness of others' success. We need to be a better example to each other. To do that, we must create our own platforms that we can excel in. Pursue fields others haven't treaded though. Stop riding the trend wave and pursue your own path.
Wafa Alobaidat writes a bi-monthly column for Khaleejesque and muses on fashion, art, culture and culture shock in the Middle East. Wafa is also the editor of Sketchbook magazine and runs design and PR agency Obai and Hill.