Saudi Women’s Oppression Vs Muslim Women’s Mission- Part I
A question that haunts almost every American I’ve known is whether or not Saudi women are really oppressed. Now I don’t know why we’re so important that everybody is so concerned about our well-being and our soft skin covered under the Abaya in such hot weather, but I can clearly say to all the concerned and caring American friends that we are not oppressed in the sense that they hear about. Of course, many Saudi studies have shown that Saudi women are beaten and treated unfairly, but isn’t this what so many women around the world are suffering from too? Why focus on Saudi Arabia as if it were the only country having problems?
And…on a different note, public places, particularly in Jeddah, show something completely different.
A glance at some public places in Jeddah is a delight for the eye indeed. At malls, crowds of women hurl and rush searching for a find; a Fendi bag on sale or a make-up set with an offer. We are just so pretty and trendy that you can find us any time of the week or day at any up-town mall trying to fetch that small diamond that will make the difference!
At restaurants and cafes, the picture becomes more serious, however. Flocks of the most stylish and sexiest women sit around the tables smoking (sheesha) wildly with an empty mysterious look in their eyes saying: you can’t get me, bastard; you just get to see me and that’s enough for the likes of you! Not a single woman of those has that content and satisfied smile on her face. Why is that? Don’t be very pessimistic and realistic and start blaming men for that; it’s just that her royal highness, who happens to be the daughter of an ordinary employee, has not gotten the expensive house she wanted for her birthday.
In beauty salons, the fight for beauty seems to be fatal. Women there spend at least three hours to get the Nancy Ajram hairstyle, the Haifa Wahbi eye make-up, or the Elissa lips. Unluckily, the result is not always as expected. Yet the fight continues at the cashier in order not to allow the salon to take the money it deserves. When the result of the three-hour session is satisfactory another type of fight is inflamed; it’s show time! In fact, the show-off starts, and the jealousy among rivals is heated.
At the end of the day, the poor oppressed Saudi woman returns home to shout at her kids and complain about her husband who doesn’t really care about her. “Can you imagine that idiot! He bought me a Gucci bag for the second time!”
Those types of women are not always rich or married to wealthy men, yet they share a few alarming features. They are all spoiled, irresponsible, and spiritually, emotionally, and mentally empty. All of them haven’t been properly educated even though some of them have university degrees. Their lives revolve around stuff, not principles and values. Being superficial and materialistic is our greatest enemy; our greatest oppression. When a woman is well-educated and is well-aware of her mission in life, no man, judge, or religious police can humiliate her or deprive her of rights. It surprises me how some Saudi women have taken the wrong direction in their fight for their rights. We fight our fathers, brothers, and husbands, but few of us fight our triviality and ignorance. If Saudi women don’t start fighting for having a personality; for gaining the joy of fulfilling a goal, they will always be oppressed and obsessed with their things and toys. There is nothing Human Rights can do for women who choose to be forever consumers of goods, gifts, and pity.
It’s true we have a lot a problems …true that there are many oppressed women …but there’s always another side to every story…women are not always angels & men are not always devils. The Saudi society is like any other society in the world; it has the good & the bad, and if we fail to see the good, we need to look again …look around us…and believe in what we see, not in what the media is always trying to impose on us in order to “sell”!.
Yet a question that very few people ask is whether or not this kind of oppression is from Islam. Is Islam for spoiling women and making them stuff-centered?
Stay tuned for part II.