MyWorld: Sign for Men’s Gym

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In a land where Saudi women are covered in black cloaks from head to toe because revealing the female form is obscene, and where Saudi women are not allowed to appear on television and are kept hidden away like treasures only for their husband’s enjoyment, it is difficult to understand how a graphic such as this would be permissable. Images of women showing their hair or any skin are said to be too provocative, and men are deemed unable to control themselves with the lust they feel when they are exposed to such things.

But what about women? Don’t women feel lust too? Why is it okay to show an image of a stud muffin with bulging muscles like this? I just think this is highly discriminatory and hypocritical, and if they are going to have censorship, it should be consistent throughout the country. I don’t get why THIS image is okay on a huge lit-up sign exposed to thousands of people, including children, every day, but women’s forearms, bosoms, legs, and necks in magazines need to be blacked out with marking pens by a special team of agents (men) hired by the government (shouldn’t women be doing this job anyway?).

Along the same vein, a few months ago there was a government crackdown on women’s gyms in KSA. Of course, there are separate facilities for women. But NOW the government has decreed that only women’s fitness clubs affiliated with medical facilities will be allowed to have licenses and all others must shut down. Men’s gyms have no such requirement. Women face quite a challenge trying to exercise in this country. In public, they are not allowed to swim, ride bikes, or play sports. One of the baffling reasons implied is because sports can cause young women to break their hymens, rendering them virgins no more. Other excuses for not providing girls with PE in school are: disrobing and changing into gym clothes at school is something that good girls should never do outside their homes; that if girls get comfortable disrobing in front of other girls, they may find themselves attracted to each other; that disrobing also may cause the girls to lose their modesty and they will become sluts. None of these are considered problems for boys who take PE in school.

Saudi women are up in arms and have begun an online campaign called “Let Her Get Fat” to protest this latest slap in the face to KSA women. Statistics show that obesity is becoming an increasing problem in the country, with two thirds of the women overweight, causing upsurges in the rates of diabetes and hypertension and other health problems as well. I realize this is all a little hard to believe, so if you have any doubts, please check out this MSNBC news report.

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, Photo, Saudi Arabia and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to MyWorld: Sign for Men’s Gym

  1. cara says:

    What a great post. Thanks for saying this so frankly.

  2. I’ve always wondered about that. Guys go to the beach with shorts and without a shirt on, and it’s no big deal. Those of us who are free to wear comfortable clothes at the beach know how suffocating it can be to have so much clothing on, especially when you also have to contend with humidity like we do here in Florida!

    Oh, women love watching heavenly bodies, too, and guys know that. Why else would they show off their semi-naked bodies? The appalling unfairness of it all, as you and others have already expressed, is the idea that women alone should carry the burden of keeping lusty temptations at bay. Ugh!

  3. JM says:

    It’s hard for me to find any coherence here!…

  4. SandyCarlson says:

    The double standard sure is frustrating. Really is unfair.

  5. coffeedoff says:

    Amazing thought provoking post. I’m stunned!

  6. Bill B says:

    Perhaps one day, women will be allowed to come into the Eighteenth Century.

  7. Eileen says:

    Your post is very thought provoking and interesting. I do find it to be sad for the women and it is amazing how different world cultures can be.

  8. magiceye says:

    strange world indeed!

  9. vnv4 says:

    This stuff drives me crazy! I could not stand living in a country that allows this type of discrimination; guess there is enough good stuff in Arabia to keep you there. 🙂 You sure do allow us into a world most of us will never experience…thanks so much.

  10. Pyatshaw says:

    Thanks for this post about some thing of which I was very ignorant. It makes me appreciate my own world all the more.
    Very, very interesting.

  11. Geogypsy says:

    Once a man is covered in his thobe you wouldn’t be able to tell he had nice abs anyway. But it is an outrage not to allow women a chance at a gym. And the idea of girls not getting any exercise in PE because of disrobing and maybe becoming lesbians is really over the top. What about the boys, don’t they stare at each other? I think this country is obsesed with their fear of women. Excellent post!

  12. Marites says:

    Wow…that’s just very double standard. I do hope things will improve there soonest. Interesting post you got here. my world entry is up too.

  13. It’s clearly difficult to live as a woman in Saudi Arabia! Lots of inequality! Your postings and photos are always culturally fascinating!

  14. Barb says:

    Very thought provoking, Susie. I am so accustomed to exercising that I don’t know if I could survive if I had these restrictions. Do you exercise?

    • We do have a treadmill in our apartment, but I hate it, and it is broken right now. On occasion we go out to my husband’s sister’s country home where there is a pool that my son and I use when no one else is around. So the truth is, I don’t get much exercise here at all. Many women here suffer from depression, and I think it’s from a combination of lack of exercise, no exposure to the sun, severe boredom and lack of mental stimulation, as well as resigning themselves to their lot in this life.

  15. lantaw says:

    talk about double standards…

  16. Dimple says:

    You make me think.

  17. Jerry M says:

    I’ve read that Islam commands modesty for both sexes (and one would say the tradtional mens outfit is Saudi Arabia is almost as modest as the female outfit. One wonders why when it comes to signage, it is ok to display the male form but not the female form?

  18. marcia says:

    Oh my that was interesting I will be back to read more of your world that nk you I am just dumbstruck

  19. fishing guy says:

    Susie: Well, I guess you laid that right on the line. I do hope you get no repercussions from it.

  20. babooshka says:

    Very brave and thought provoking post. It really is such a world of contradictions. Well said.

  21. Wow, and I complain about never getting outside because of the rain; I’ll remember this. Interesting about the double standard and what it means to daily life, and health, not just politics.

  22. Excellent post as always, Susie! And definitely very thought provoking. Know you’re looking forward to your trip to Seattle in a few weeks! Hope you have a great time!

    Count the days!

    Sylvia

  23. Carver says:

    This was an excellent, thought provoking post.

  24. ewok1993 says:

    I love reading your posts.

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