While Dani over here complains about the fact that women are not (yet) allowed to be bishops in the Anglican Church, much worse sexism is soaring over the heads of potential female bishops. World renown for their amazing sexism, Saudi Arabia is back in the news, this time here in London. Finally, some good news: two women will be representing Saudi Arabia in the London Olympics, the first being an American born Sarah Attar, having such a traditional Saudi first name. Sarah will be competing in the 800m race. The other, who has a fantastic name, is Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani; she will be competing in judo above the 78kg, that is 172 pounds. A big name for a big girl. “It’s common knowledge that Saudi women are not allowed to pursue higher education, have major surgery or leave the country without their male guardian’s written approval.” Have major surgery is the most queer to me, our society just can’t even fathom something like that.
With the Olympics and sports in general, a Saudi man seeing the figure of a woman or a woman running is sleazy and too sexual for his tastes. This man, Fahd al-Rouqi, who is a Saudi sports analyst, was quoted with saying that he “hoped” to die before seeing a Saudi woman in the Olympics. Great job, Fahd, you’ve just put civil rights back another 300 years with that comment. Being a different society is not an excuse to treat women like s-h-i-t, but my opinions are little to no matter in these affairs.
The saddest part of this issue is that the movement did not originate from inside the country, but by pressure from the International Olympic Committee. The reason Saudi Arabia changed is because the IOC(International Olympic Committee) threatened them with a ban that was given to South Africa in the 1960’s. While this is a magnificent breakthrough, “Within Saudi Arabia, social activists and national human rights organisations have other issues that they prioritise before Saudi women Olympians such as making child brides illegal, fighting judicial discrimination against women, lifting the ban on women driving, and opening more work opportunities to women.” So, this is a revolutionary time for Saudi Arabian women’s rights, and while we can complain about how it’s not enough, it clearly is huge.