Thursday, May 03, 2012

Oddities in Saudi Arabia: Body Piercing and an All Women's Village

There's always something bizarre and surprising going on in Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive, oppressive countries in the world. At least for women. But in spite of women having most of their freedoms restricted in the Kingdom, they do find ways of rebelling- like the women who are now getting body piercings. We're not talking about holes in the ears for those dangles or gold studs, we're talking lip, tongue, naval piercing and who knows what else. The trend is on an upswing, though there are differing views as to its attractiveness. I was actually rather surprised to read about this, since piercings are a mostly Western fancy. I'm sure it will eventually be banned for being un-Islamic.

Then there's that Saudi village that just banned women who  dress "indecently" (read- tart) and manly women (read- probably gay) from entering the Women's Village in Sakakah.   The women-only villagers want to make sure their hamlet remains normal (like an all-female village is normal.) They want women to dress like women and conservatively, to boot.  Though if there are no men around, why the need to dress modestly?  The abaya and hijab/niqab (veils) are supposedly worn to prevent men from lusting after them, because Muslim men have no control over their passions.  If there are no men there, what's the point? 

But the village administration wants to make sure that all Western, "alien" phenomena is curtailed, so the banning statement was texted to everyone's cell phone (isn't that a Western phenomenon?)  The ban came after some girls were discovered doing bad things at women-only parties, like dressing like men (probably wearing jeans), or dressing provocatively (maybe a little cleavage), and the worst part- engaging in some "provocative" dancing.

“Those phenomena are alien to our society and do not reflect its conservative character. That is why they need to combated and have their causes uprooted,” said the statement.

Earlier, there was a fatwa against bringing cell phones with cameras and noisy partying. And they have their own security force to ensure all the strict rules and regulations are adhered to.

Not sure what's with an all-female village, but it's pretty bizarre.

According to Al Arabiya, targeting masculine women and feminine looking/acting men (and those pesky 'punks') isn't anything new.  They've been banned from public schools and universities.

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