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.