Saturday, May 2, 2009

Let Her Get Fat: Saudi Arabia clamps down on Gyms for Women

You know, I'm fascinated with countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran, where their women allow themselves to be treated like chattel. Yes, I say "allow" because, well they do. The only way that anything will change there, is if there is a movement against the powers that be. Sure, people will die, but if you're not willing to die for your freedom, then you'll never get it. If enough of these women would say that enough was enough and take to the streets en masse and demand their rights, they'd have them. But you see the problem is complex, because many women there like things the way they are. I don't understand it at all, sort of like how I don't understand how any woman who has half a thought in her head could be in the Republican party, but I digress.

Besides not being able to drive, women in Saudi Arabia are apparently not allowed to work out either. The government has been cracking down on gyms, and doesn't even allow women or girls to participate in sports in public schools because they "might lose their virginity." Yes, this all goes back to some twisted fucking sense that a guy needs a virgin, something I never understood, because do you really want someone who has no idea what they're doing? But that's another post entirely.

Saudi Arabia clamps down on unlicensed female gyms
Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:45pm EDT

By Asma Alsharif

JEDDAH (Reuters) - "Let her get fat!" is the slogan women in Saudi Arabia are using to challenge a clampdown on female-only gyms. Unhappy at the growing number of unlicensed female gyms, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs recently closed two in the Red Sea city of Jeddah and one in the city of Dammam on the Gulf Arab coast for not having a license...

Female participation in sports has long been a controversial issue in the kingdom, with physical education banned from public girls' schools and clerics issuing religious prohibitions on female participation in sports... "The idea of female fitness is non-existent within our government," said Fouziah Alouni, a prominent women's rights campaigner...

The result has been high rates of diabetes and even bone frailty among women, which the Ministry of Health says it wants to combat. "Football and basketball are sports that require a lot of movement and jumping," Sheikh Abdullah al-Maneea, member of the official Supreme Council of Religious Scholars, said in a religious opinion published in Okaz newspaper Thursday.

He said such excessive movement may harm girls who are still virgins, possibly causing them to lose their virginity... Women's gyms can only exist inside hospitals as "health centres" supervised by the Ministry of Health but prices are so high, at least 1,000 riyals ($266) a month, that only the affluent can afford membership.

Cheaper versions have sprung up under name "beauty salon" or "studio" but now their future is in doubt. Madawi Al-Hassoun of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce said the chamber has been trying for three years to find a government body prepared to take on board licensing female gyms. "Some people don't like women to go out of their homes. This is a common struggle for female businesses in Saudi," she said.

(Editing by Andrew Hammond and Paul Casciato)
In fact, Saudi Arabia is the only country not to allow any women to participate in the Olympics, and yet they're allowed to compete. I really can't believe that the IOC allows that. Everyone was protesting allowing China to host the games, but it's a real toss up when it comes to human rights violations between the two. I can't decide which one is worse. I didn't see anyone protesting about Saudi Arabia's participation. And you know what? Our government is really good friends with Saudi Arabia. We invade Iraq, a secular country, and what happens? They're now ruled by religious fanatics. America FTW! Not.

I have read other articles in the past, where women who would go jogging would get harassed by the religious police. I suppose that a lot of why they allow themselves to be denigrated to second class citizens has to do with brainwashing. When you're told all your life that you are nothing, that you are not equal, you will more than likely believe it. It's a pity really, that you deny half your adult population any rights. What if one of them, if they had been allowed to do so, came up with the cure for cancer, or any number of other things.

Indeed, organized religion has been a drain on this entire planet. It has set us back a thousand years. The Catholic Church burned people at the stake for putting forth scientific ideas that contradicted the Bible, or in the case of Galileo forced him to recant his "errors" that the earth revolved around the sun. They would have burned Galileo if he'd been willing to die for what he believed and refused to recant, but he wasn't. I suppose he was content to go back to his house, where he spent the rest of his life under house arrest, and ponder on how the joke was on the Chruch, because the earth revolved around the sun anyway.


  1. ghost of a dead nazarene on a stickMay 3, 2009 at 12:36 AM

    In America, we have radical, lesbian, feminists like Twisty.

    Go ahead. Read it. I double dawg dare you.

  2. I remember a world not so long ago (okay 30 years ago - it seems like yesterday) when women in America began to wake up from their Stepford existence and GASP began to go to work. Granted, the jobs were shitty. The bosses were like 'work husbands' who made you take his shirts to the laundry, deliver his coffee and you had to put up with his groping hands. Those of us who began the trek to 'freedom' realized we actually had TWO husbands - the one you went to bed with and the one who wanted to take you to bed. The one who wanted to take you to bed gave you a minimum wage salary because after all, you weren't really a breadwinner. You just needed "pin money." As if we wanted to purchase pins for godsake. What the hell is pin money anyway? Bowling for dollars?

    Now, we women trudge off to work with the guys and suffer the same BS stuff. We both come home from work tired as hell. The irony is that now no one wants to have sex. Maybe there's hope for Saudi women. They can be just like us schlepping of off to work with no time for the gym. What a world!

  3. Hard to believe sometimes that there are still so many countries in the world that treat women that way, and so many women that allow it!

    Almost like living in the dark ages...

  4. @ghost... um, is that a parody or what? You know, one must be careful how far they go, as there is a limit for becoming a parody of one's self.

    @nancy... if the Corporatocracy would pay people a living wage, both spouses wouldn't have to work if they didn't want to. I am all for one (either the man or the woman) staying home to raise children, as I think that children do best in that environment. I think daycare and low wages are two of the worst things that have ever happened here in the States.

    And you do have a point, about everyone working too much. I for one am for the French style of work. They get on average 35+ vacation days a year. Hell, the Swedes get 16 months of paid maternity leave. Those damned socialists! However, it has always been my opinion that it should be a choice if both spouses want to work. The women in Saudi Arabia have no choice. As you can see, they really don't even have the choice to go to the gym despite any time they might have on their hands.

    @hermit... it is like living in the dark ages. I think it's appalling, but what's worse is that our government is buddy-buddy with them.

  5. The relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia is of long-standing and quite complex. It is wrapped in big money dripping with oil.

    The Bush family and most of their friends, in and out of government have made tons of money in Saudi Arabia (not only in oil) and have done tons of favors for Saudi in return.

    The fact that Saudi is a repressive dictatorship isn't a consideration when money is to be made. Never has been. We've slept with just about every dictator in the world at one time or another to obtain natural resources from their country - thus enriching the dictator, cheating the people, and draining the country.

    Old story.

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