Abu Dhabi (CNN) -- At 23, Asma Al Muhairi has never considered herself a social activist. But a shopping trip to a Dubai mall left her so irate that she started a campaign against revealing clothing and has sparked a major debate in the United Arab Emirates.
Al Muhairi's campaign to persuade expats and tourists to dress more modestly began after she and her friend Hanan Al Rayes saw a young woman in shorts that they considered left little to the imagination.
She said many people in Dubai Mall were looking at the woman, but no one did anything, so she approached security guards and threatened to call the police.
In our days people always knew it was wrong. It is in our culture and our religion
Asma Al Muhairi"We never saw this 10 years ago or even five years ago," said Al Muhairi, who began her campaign through a hashtag on Twitter -- #UAEdresscode.When I first came to Kuwait in 2003 it was completely different than today. Women were still covered up for the most part and a little bit more modest. Today no one cares and they wear whatever they like. Americans who come to Kuwait to work are told to dress modestly as well. Once they get here and see that everyone wears whatever they want they end up joining that club and I've seen some ugly examples.
"I'm only 23 but when I was young it was different," she added. "I feel sad for the new generations. My nieces when they go to the mall they think it's fine to look at people dressed like this.
"It makes me sad. In our days people always knew it was wrong. It is in our culture and our religion."
While wearing skimpy clothing is not illegal in the United Arab Emirates, shopping malls have policies that state knees and shoulders should be covered.
I'm always asked by readers about dressing in Kuwait. I tell them that almost anything goes in Kuwait now, no restrictions. Here are some examples....
Her pants were so low I could see her pelvic bones..
To each his own, but there are some things you just don't want to see when you go out.