Saudi Women Joining NRA
by The Big Pharaoh
Advocates of the hijab (head cover) insist that it protects women and girls from sexual harassment especially on the street. This assumption is true to a certain extent. In Egypt for example, a girl is more prone to hear sexually motivated comments from men if she’s not wearing the hijab. She has to be really ugly and wearing rags if she is to enjoy a peaceful walk on Cairo’s streets.
This is changing slowly though. As more and more girls done the hijab, hormone driven Egyptian young men will have no choice but to go after veiled girls. A week ago I saw two teenagers walking slowly right behind 2 pretty veiled girls. Both girls were wearing relatively tight tank tops and colorful hijabs.
"pssst, what’s this beauty?" one of them told the girls. "It started," I told myself.
It seems that Saudi Arabia had passed this stage long time ago. A report by Al Arabiya (Arabic link) revealed that more and more Saudi women are acquiring arms and self defense devices in order to protect themselves from harassment. And bear in mind that this is Saudi Arabia, where women are required by law to cover up from head to toe.
There was a period in Egypt’s history when women used to walk peacefully on the street wearing whatever they wished to wear. This period started with the emancipation of women in the 20s till the mid 70s. It declined in the 80s and 90s with the rise of religious fundamentalism and the destruction of the middle class.
Thomas Friedman, in one of his latest articles, said that he will know the US had won in Iraq and the Middle East changed if Salman Rushdie can give a speech in Baghdad. Now, that’s way too much to ask for. I would know the Middle East has changed if my daughter or wife managed to take Cairo’s notorious big red packed bus wearing a mini skirt. My mother did it 40 years ago.
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