Segregation, apartheid and some pretty loud bells in Saudi Arabia

I’ve been thinking about segregation a lot lately – some might say too much since I am, as readers know, an outsider here, a guest in Saudi Arabia, an observer with both the privilege and distance available to look at the Kingdom’s systems of segregation esoterically more often than personally. But, none-the-less, segregation – gender and other – has been on my mind. ...more

The Game of Life - Saudi-style

I woke up this morning with an epiphany! I’m going to create a game! ...more

It Is Time...to put an end to child brides in Saudi Arabia

Adar had been too excited to sleep the night before, and now it was catching up with her. ...more

Feminism and Cultural Relativism

The caption on the photo accompanying the May 13th New York Times article, "Love on the Girls' Side of the Saudi Divide," read, "Shaden, who is veiled at 17, spoke with her father as her younger sister looked on in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in March 2008." As I ate breakfast, I stared at the picture. My initial look revealed only a girl who was maybe nine or ten years old wearing a white shirt and black sweater and an older man with a silver mustache wearing white. Where was Shaden? I squinted, pulled the paper closer to my face, and finally noticed her. Covered in the shapeless black fabric of an abaya, I didn't see Shaden at first because to my Western eye she is an utter non-entity, a black void that fills the space between her dad and younger sister. Immediately, I felt sorry for Shaden for her lack of presence. Then I wondered how a different culturally trained eye would see the photo. Would someone from, say, Saudi Arabia notice Shaden first, then her sister and father? (And if so, does that make it OK that Shaden is not allowed to show her face in public, under any circumstances, ever again, because people there still "see" her?) ...more

Hi Suzanne,

I know what you mean. At the same time, I remember that even in the West, ...more

Women-Only Hotel Takes Root in Gender-Segregated Saudi Arabia

I was happy to learn that last week a women-owned and operated hotel debuted in Saudi Arabia. The Luthan Hotel & Spa is owned by a group of 20 Saudi princesses and businesswomen and is meeting a very big demand in the middle east. ...more

In Saudi Arabia. I just don't even know where to begin with what's wrong with THAT comment. ...more