OOOOOOOhhhhhhAhhhhhhh….Saudi Women Can Vote! soon.

Hey, check it out. Saudi Women can vote. (be sure to read the fine print.) My initial response to this news was positive, but then my inner uppity feminist yelled at my don’t make waves feminist self and I realized two things: 1. How noble of the Saudi King to grant women the right to vote. <—-read that again

And the other thing I realized is summed up perfectly right here:

“So I can vote, but I can’t get a driver’s licence,” said one Saudi woman from Jeddah, who said she had to remain anonymous. “If I use my name I may be breaching the guardianship law here.”

Laws demand that a male guardian – a father, brother, or son – accompany women on any trip outside the house. When some women in Riyadh attempted to test it earlier in the year by driving cars, the move was seen as a provocation by authorities and several of the drivers were arrested. Separation of the sexes in public is also strictly enforced.

Oh, I know. Many of you will think that those of us in the Western part of Little Blue ought to rejoice because ‘it’s a step in the right direction’. Maybe you’re right. But I just can’t get on board right now.

#&^%*@#!!!!!! IT’S 2011 AND WITH ALL OF OUR ‘ENLIGHTENMENT, INDUSTRIALIZATION, PROGRESS, ETC., WOMEN OF THE WORLD ARE STILL BEING RAPED, BEATEN,and HACKED TO BITS. THEY ARE STILL PROPERTY–a resource or an asset that a man (a human lucky enough to be born with a penis) has the right to buy, sell, and treat in the way that he sees fit. Women are still being held responsible for the crimes and misdeeds of men (something we can discuss in the comments).
Even in the US, women are silenced in the boardrooms, the office bullpen, and even in their own homes when they share that space with men.

So why am I supposed to be thrilled over this little bone thrown in the direction of women’s rights?

Does the treatment of women around the world remind you of how we treat something else of great value?


8 responses to “OOOOOOOhhhhhhAhhhhhhh….Saudi Women Can Vote! soon.

  1. Ziff September 26, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Like you, I do wonder what this will mean in practical terms. I mean, if women can’t drive and can’t leave the house without a man, it will be trivially easy for men to prevent women from voting.

  2. Jeremy Johnsen September 26, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I came here to post exactly what Ziff did. The right to vote means very little when pretty much any man can still prevent you from getting to the ballot box. Throwing them a bone is exactly the right phrase.

  3. Chris H. September 26, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I think you have been away from fMh too long. I think that it is Saudi Arabia, one of the more culturally conservative Arab countries is significant.

    Should we be dancing in the streets over this? No. However, I am not sure if all the angst over it is justified either. Nobody is claiming that this somehow is a sign that feminism has won.

    Keep an eye on the big picture.

  4. Chris H. September 26, 2011 at 11:59 am

    The right to vote has long held great symbolic significance beyond the actual act of voting itself.

  5. el oso September 26, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    It looks like Saudi is coming into the 19th century. Overall this is progress.

    Women are being silenced in the office… Where is this happening? I work in a very male dominated industry, but it is not due to any overt sexism. It is hard to find women who want to do many of the types of jobs available. Even a private company I worked for with all male executives was not trying to keep women down.
    Are there some managers who do not listen well to women? Yes, but also others who do not listen to old people, young people, men, hispanics, blacks, asians, etc.

  6. Karmen September 27, 2011 at 8:13 am

    I agree that, with the cultural eyes that we see through, this looks like a very small bone and one that is still completely controlled by men. In the Saudi cultural eye, however, this is significant. The Saudi traditions (now state policies) exceed our own (U.S.) by thousands of years and even here women have had the right to vote for how long? There are many socio-cultural practices that we find abhorrent that will change but over a very long time. Even this announcement on the vote doesn’t go in effect until 2015.

    The driving issue is just one of many still being addressed by women in Saudi Arabia (they are the ones who will make change happen, not us). The Al Jazeera article that I read about the King’s announcement reminds us that women “… are barred from travelling, working or having medical operations without the permission of a male relative.” That is extremely tight control and more strict that any other country.

    Finally, I’ll say that I don’t like the ultra-conservative Saudi policies that are restrictive of women’s rights. I don’t necessarily like the fact that here in the U.S. the Nineteenth Amendment was necessary in the first place but wasn’t ratified until 1920, less than a hundred years ago. African-Americans in the U.S. didn’t get the right to vote until 1965, less than fifty years ago. As for the brutality against women, here in our culture it is not legally permitted although it does still happen. In Saudi Arabia, under Sharia law, the entire culture will have to change and for them Sharia is as much a part of their life and culture as freedom of speech and religion are to Americans and the Book of Mormon and latter-day prophets/revelation are to Mormons.

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