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22 February 2006

Saudi girls just wanna have fun

In Veil Power (The Guardian) Brian Whitaker deconstructs the myths and truths about the place of women in society in Saudi Arabia. Many of the practices that the West assumes are Muslim "law" and oppressive and hateful to women are, in fact, customs backed up by an often tortured interpretation of the Koran and the choice of women more than of men. The underlying assumption in cultures throughout the Middle East is that sex is an overpowering force, that women cannot help but be temptresses, and that men cannot possibly control their lustful natures in a sexually unsegregated society. This not only leads to women having a completely separate existence, but it leads Arab men into serious trouble when they travel or migrate to or work in the West, where there is an assumption that men are responsible for their own behaviour towards women. So, what's in it for the women of regimes like Saudi Arabia where the "Muslim" way of life is so entrenched that it hardly matters that it's not actually enshrined in law. Well, for one thing, they get better parties.

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