It is Hard To Be a Woman In Saudi Arabia

Boy oh boy. It sounds like Saudi Arabia is a fun place to live.

Saudi Papers Told to Stop Showing Women

“The king told editors on Monday night that publishing a woman’s picture was inappropriate.

“One must think, ‘do they want their daughter, their sister, or their wife to appear in this way?’ Of course, no one would accept this,” the newspaper Okaz quoted Abdullah as saying.

“The youth are driven by emotion … and sometimes they can be led astray. So, please, try to cut down on this,” he said.”

Apparently women must be driven wild by other things, such as selling lingerie.

Muslim clerics’ anger delays Saudi plan to let women sell lingerie

“Saudi Arabia has postponed plans to replace male sales staff in lingerie shops with women.

The move had been its first cautious attempt to bring more women into the work-place.

But even minor reforms have incurred the wrath of ultra-conservative religious leaders, such as the Grand Mufti Shaikh Abdel-Aziz al-Sheikh, who has denounced them as “steps towards immorality and hellfire”.

In a country that requires women to cover up in public, and bans them from driving, shop assistants are invariably men – even in stores selling women’s underwear and cosmetics. The kingdom’s sole exceptions are the few all-female shopping centres.

King Abdallah’s government last year ordered lingerie shop owners to hire all-female sales staff by next month. In 2007, the policy was to have been extended to stores selling dresses and abayas (the black robes worn by women for modesty).”

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  1. Kiwi the Geek May 21, 2006 at 6:34 am

    If you want to know what Saudi Arabia is really like, read a series of books by Jean P. Sasson, called Princess, Princess Sultana’s Daughters, and Princess Sultana’s Circle. They’re based on the personal diaries of a Saudi royal cousin. FTR, she wishes women were allowed to drive. I think she would say there’s a big difference between not wanting to and not being allowed to.

    If the sight of a face, wrist or ankle is believed to drive men wild, how can they be allowed to see and touch women’s panties?! Wouldn’t it be enormously titillating to imagine the customers trying on undergarments? Just another example of how little logic is involved in all these strict rules.

  2. Sand Gets in My Eyes May 19, 2006 at 2:18 pm

    As an expat living and working here in Saudi, I have to agree that there is a ton of misinformation in the West about Saudi Arabia and the people here. Oddly, both sides seem to have a vested interest in keeping the misinformation flowing.

  3. Jack's Shack May 19, 2006 at 6:32 am


    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but you are right. It is not such a favorable comparison, but it is what it is.

  4. Still Wonderin' May 19, 2006 at 2:52 am

    sounds like the Saudi clerics read Hamodia….and that the Gerrer Rebbe would feel right at home in Saudi Arabia.

  5. Jack's Shack May 19, 2006 at 12:19 am




    Saudi Arabia has so many problems it is not even funny. It is not a matter of being misinformed, it is a matter of a society that is in many ways culturally stunted.

  6. wom May 18, 2006 at 8:23 pm

    Actually, a report was released stating that the global media had been misifnormed. King Abdullah never said anything about banning the pictures of women. Such images were never banned inside Saudi Arabia…It’s not something dealing with reform.

    Also, an independent study found that 88% of Saudi women preferred not to drive but rather be driven as they are today. Almost every family in Saudi has a driver and he takes the family around when the dad or older brother isn’t available.

    It’s sad that the world is this misinformed. Every Westerner that goes into Saudi, comes out with a new sense of “Damn was I ignorant abou this”. < From past experience

  7. Z May 18, 2006 at 6:53 pm

    Oy. I guess there IS life under the burkah after all.

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