The following is an image that may be seen on the Facebook profile of your everyday, modern Saudi woman:
Arab women are following a new trend – posting pictures of random body parts on Facebook.
The pictures show a glimpse of skin that may belong to an arm or a foot. Or from the more brazen vixen, you may see a fingernail. According to a report by Arab News, “…[This]…is an emerging trend among young Saudi women…”.
Although this may hardly seem like the next Women’s Liberation Movement, Arab News reports that 48 percent of Saudi internet users are women under the age of 25.
Does this mean that Saudi women are closer to living the Western lifestyle? Hardly. The statistic does show that this group of women are moving towards modernity – but more technologically than socially.
Facebook may be providing these women with an outlet in which to free themselves of sexual oppression, but they are taking rather conservative steps in doing so.
Nobody is going to be running around the desert in a bikini anytime soon. The women who post these pictures will often obscure their body parts with glitter or present themselves under a different name.
“Most women on social networking sites use fake names. By displaying parts of their body and sometimes in glittering colors, young women must be achieving some sort of gratification or release of their emotions while anonymity guarantees them immunity from social censure or parental displeasure,” said Amal Al-Saleh, a university graduate to Arab News. She added that many women prefer to present images resembling singers.
You are probably more familiar with this next image as an example of what is acceptable in Saudi culture:
Unfortunately, this will probably remain to be the extent of how we see Saudi women for some time to come. Moreover, the same report states that Saudi men have expressed outrage over the way these women are using social media. Some are upset that Arabs use social media at all.
So what method do these men take to express such outrage? Well, they appear on national television, and publicly declare to the world that women shouldn’t be using social media.
It seems that some men have put some forethought into how this problem should be resolved. An electronics professor explains to the press that the problem Arabs are facing with women using social media, is simply a result of women having too much time on their hands.
He claims that women are just really bored, either as a result of ‘spinsterhood’ or unemployment. His solution? Give these women more jobs. Keep them busy with work! That way they will spend less time on Facebook, thus less time corrupting their value system.