My World: Censorship

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This photo shows a package of inflatable water wings that are marketed for small children to wear on their arms when swimming. The child model has been left relatively unscathed, however the female model standing behind her has been almost entirely blacked out with a marker. Only her hand is left visible.
Like many things here in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, censorship is carried to an unbelievable extreme.   Aside from the expected written word, pornography, and bad language in movies, some things that are censored here will surprise you.   Red flowers, red lingerie and red candy boxes are banned just prior to Valentine’s Day every year (for more on this, click here).   It’s not unusual for entire scenes to be deleted from broadcast movies if there are any sexy parts or sexual connotations, including something as innocent as kissing.   Bloggers too must be very careful about what they write – one blogger calling for change in the Kingdom was jailed for four months last year without any charges brought against him (to read more, click here).   Not too long ago, the newspapers here carried stories about how the religious police had banned the sale of puppies and kittens, deeming them as tempting tools used to attract the opposite sex.  I know you think I must be making this up, but I’m not kidding!
If you are interested in reading more about this fascinating and controversial topic here in Saudi Arabia, several months ago, I wrote a more in-depth post about it on my other blog, Susie’s Big Adventure.
I would also highly recommend these interesting articles pertaining to this subject matter:
A hilarious tongue-in-cheek masterpiece written by my fellow blogging buddy, Aafke of Clouddragon.
A provocative look at the censorship issue by another blogger friend of mine, American Bedu.
An unbelievable story published by the Arab View which was written by a Saudi woman journalist, Lubna Hussain.
Well, That’s My World for this week! That’s My World! offers a unique glimpse at life all over our planet. Take a peek at other people’s lives from all over the world by visiting That’s My World!

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About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
This entry was posted in Culture, Life, Religion, Shopping and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to My World: Censorship

  1. m_m says:

    These actions are really incredible for us. Thanks for sharing with us your knowledge. It is very interesting!

  2. soulbrush says:

    oh goodness, i remember that from our 4 years in kuwait. spoilt the whole thing.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Is it me or does anyone else think that this looks reeeaally creepy? Buy a pair of water wings and get a bogeyman for free?

    But seriously: that is an interesting post and it makes me appreciate the freedom I have. The links are also well worth reading.

  4. *sigh* You’re a better woman than I, susie.

  5. koala says:

    It’s so symbolic that it’s not just nudity that’s blacked out but the whole woman. Like a message to the opposite sex that you don’t matter at all.

  6. Bill B. says:

    All of a sudden, our society does not look so crazy.

  7. Amazing and frightening. Fishing Guy said it best: this makes us appreciate our freedom here in America.

  8. Billie says:

    Susie, as always, I look forward to your daily photo journal. I love it! Have you ever been questioned, etc. by someone in authority regarding your views? Is it like it was when we all lived on the Mexican border, that is, it’s good to “know” someone? I often wonder about Adam. Is he adapting? I can only imagine how difficult such a change would be for an American teenager.

  9. Hmmm. I can sort of understand that someone might want to avoid certain things themselves. What I don’t understand is the need to control other people.

  10. Yoli says:

    My sweet Susie, I worry about you. Please be careful.

  11. Must be very strange to live in such a censored world. Fascinating insight into how things are there.

  12. Fascinating as usual Suzie, and thanks for the links.

  13. Jan says:

    These blogs are a great way to learn about the rest of the world. Thank you for opening so many doors!

  14. Carver says:

    Great post and an interesting look into your world.

  15. SandyCarlson says:

    That does take it far! Wow. I always appreciate your blog for the street level insight into life there.

  16. Jacob says:

    This is all just too sad. I’m glad you’re around to let the rest of us in on what’s really going on…just be careful!

  17. Fishing Guy – Most definitely.

    Indrani – I’m not jumping with joy to be here, but I’m not unhappy either. It is really a good life here, but there are many negative things about living here that you just have to put up with. Really, something like in this post is just so absurd – especially when you consider that everyone here has satellite TV and you can imagine what is shown. So to pay someone to take black marker to something like this – well, it’s comical. And yes, they have tried to ban satellite TV but it is impossible. Plus, some of the royal family own the TV stations, so it’s money in their pockets.

  18. Geogypsy says:

    Susie, does someone really open packaging to block out the undesireable? Must be difficult to import products and movies with so much censorship. This is truly amazing. Hope you never go to jail for your blog.

    BTW, hope you’ll visit me in AZ.

  19. Indrani says:

    That is really sad, are you happy staying there?

  20. Fishing Guy says:

    Susie: I would hope that this makes us appreciate or freedoms a little more.

  21. For Ewok and Today’s Blah – The red ban is only in effect for the few weeks prior to Valentine’s Day. Any other time of year, you can buy red flowers and red lovey-dovey stuff. What happens then is that you have to pay ridiculous black market prices for red roses for Valentine’s Day.

  22. I’ve also heard many accounts of their censorship but like ewok, I’ve never known red things are banned. That’s a tough world you live in, but yeah, we can adapt.

  23. Sylvia –
    The only way to survive here is to maintain your sense of humor. Believe me, lots of “head shaking in disbelief” happens. As far as adjusting, I pretty much knew what to expect before I came here, but even still, there are so many things that are simply beyond reason. I think my teenage son has had a much tougher time adjusting than I have.

    Imac – I don’t think Emily would like it very much here, nor would Gloria Steinem!

  24. Guy D says:

    Very interesting, its amazing how different the cultures are, thanks for sharing another one of your great postings.

    Have a great week!
    Guy
    Regina In Pictures

  25. koala says:

    This kinda of stuff goes beyond my laid back approach to other cultures. It’s just a bit too much.

  26. imac says:

    Another great post in your way of life.

    Wonder what would happen if Emily Pankhurst was there???.

  27. sylvia says:

    It is amazing! I guess I’m curious as to how you deal with it? Some of it wouldn’t bother me particularly, because it’s about things that I’m not necessarily curious about, however, I don’t think I would want to be told that I couldn’t see, read — whatever. Has it been difficult for you to adapt?

  28. ewok1993 says:

    I have heard about the strict unbending rules and the dos and donts over at the Kingdom. I wasn’t aware that they had to go to the extreme by banning red flowers. Oh well.

    Enjoy your week.

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