The Saudi Obsession

Saudi men are obsessed with women. That is a fair statement that few will argue. Some will even go as far as to say that most men are, regardless of nationality. But the degree to which Saudis are obsessed is amazing. When I read about and firsthand experience how men view women, it makes me feel sub-human. Strangely this is not shared by my fellow country women. I am always shocked at how many Saudi women believe that they really are sub humans that can be compared to glass bottles, flowers, cakes and sheep preyed on by Saudi wolves.  A funny story that illustrates the objectification of women here is a story a friend told me today. She works at a medical training environment so it is mixed gender. The men were performing afternoon prayer when a woman colleague walked by. She was wearing loose formal pants, a knee length lab-coat and her hair and face were covered in black except for the eyes. After the prayer, the director of the facility called a female manager to his office and demanded to know who the woman who walked by was. He was outraged because he claimed that her walking by them during prayer caused them all to be sexually aroused! And so that ruined their prayer. And now unlike the majority of medicine related facilities, women employees are not allowed to wear pants.

 Another interesting example is a fatwa that Turki Al Dakheel republished in an article this week. I absolutely love the guy. He reminds me of my husband. They both originally come from the same ultra conservative Qaseemi city of Buraida and they both have gone through the dark tunnel of muttawaism to come out the other side enlightened and better individuals. Anyway the fatwa  is in answer to a question on the Islamic viewpoint on women participating in online public forums and the sheikh answered:

A woman is allowed to participate as long as she restricts herself to the following:

1- Her participation should only be minimal; to ask her question or topic and leave. She should not comment unnecessarily because the aim is to keep her safe from talking to men and mixing with them.

2- Her writing should not contain anything that would incite a fitnah (prelude to sin), such as joking, writing flirtatiously or laughing as in LOOOL, or the use of  emotion-showing symbols like smiling faces because that will lead to rouse the greed of sick hearts (sick as in bad not ill).And then he gives an extract from the Quran meaning {O Consorts of the Prophet! ye are not like any of the (other) women: if ye do fear (Allah) be not too complaisant of speech lest one in whose heart is a disease should be moved with desire: but speak ye a speech that is just} Al Ahzab/32

3- She should avoid giving out her Email or privately messaging a man even if it is for help because this messaging will most likely cause fitnah and hearts to connect.

4- Most importantly and better is for a woman to only participate in women only forums because that is safer for her. And these forums are now many and they are full of good and richness. And if she needs to participate in general forums it would be best if she used a username that does not show that she is female. And Allah is more knowledgeable.  

The comments on this article were 380 and some women replied with a long Arabic LOL in defiance and others expressed their disappointment in Turki Al Dakheel for taking a shiekh’s fatwa lightly.

And this distortion of women’s humanity goes beyond borders in many Saudi men’s heads. A Saudi acquaintance of mine told me that he always thought that the ex in ex-girlfriend stood for extended as in western women are so cheap that it is ok for them  to be one of many girlfriends of one guy. I don’t know how he could have missed the exs in ex-boyfriend, ex-wife and ex-husband. Maybe his wishful thinking blocked them out on a subconscious level.


Filed under Culture, Gender Apartheid, Popular

7 responses to “The Saudi Obsession

  1. Is there anything that explains this obsession? It’s a hard concept to grasp in general, why the obsession would be so deep. Is it cultural or is it religious?

  2. Rasputin

    do you think its got to do with feudal mind-set that still prevails??

  3. The story about the woman in the hospital reminds me of something that happened to me in the King Faisal Hospital in Jeddah. I was there to meet a friend. I waited for her in the reception area, dressed in my abaaya and shayla. She came out wearing loose black trousers, a knee-length lab coat, and a scarf that hung to the middle of her back. As we were walking out, we passed two ladies in full niqaab. One exclaimed to the other, “Look at the faces of these girls! They are ruining society!” We had to sprint for the exit just to avoid bursting out laughing in the middle of the corridor.

  4. gabi

    “Is there anything that explains this obsession? ”

    Of course. These men learn from childhood, that they cannot see the girls, even a glimps is sinfull, and they are so worked up by the end, that a mere passing by of a woman is making them overexcited. It is very understandable. It amases me, that they did not figure this out yet. Frankly, as a western woman – all the restrictions on women seem inhuman.

  5. Oh my God, this post is so depressing!! How unliberating. I am still having trouble believing that men like this exist. My husband is moderate and from Palestine, but these guys sound so out of touch with women…. they make my husband seem liberal (which he’s really not) -women are PEOPLE!!

  6. CB

    unbelievable stupidity…….. i know i’ve dealth with these men too..

  7. AshWave24201

    Ok!. First of all in Islam women are not allowed to pass by men ,or men by women, when either of them is praying. It is one of the things you cannot deny. When we are praying our whole attention should be towards Allah and no one else.
    Secondly, women are supposed to dress in a way that their features are not
    defined. I don’t understand what is so good about making yourself so exposed.
    Thirdly, about taking part in online forums. Well that is not only for women but also for men! I more than often came across this quote popular in
    non-MUSLIM community as well as Muslim that , before you speak think if it is going to do any good, are your words going to harm someone or not”
    “It’s better to stay quit than to speak dumb and make a fool out of yourself”
    I think everyone agrees with that.
    And about women thinking of themselves as sub-humans or men treating them that way. That is not good! Women are a given complete rights in Islam and Prophet(PBUH) clearly said that education is necessary for both men and women. In fact gaining education is stated as a religious obligation that everyone INCLUDING women should obey.
    Please remember that Islam is a peace loving religion.It always promotes middle and less complicated path.
    Prophet(PBUH) says that women are to be treated with love and care. No women should consider herself “SUB-HUMAN”.

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