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Saudi Arabia: The Black Garbage Bag

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Indigenous, Women & Gender

American Sabra [1] is in Saudi Arabia … and has to do what the Saudi women do when it comes to covering up from head to toe when outside her house.

On the Abaya, or cloak worn by women in Saudi, Sabra writes:

I wear my abeya when I leave our compound to do occasional grocery shopping – which is about the ONLY shopping I do here [I had to wear it a week or two ago when I went downtown to try to get paint samples]. I don't consider it a “prison,” but I certainly do not have a high regard for it, either, and refer to it as “the black garbage bag.” It is a ridiculous article of clothing which women here are forced to wear due to constraints imposed upon them by a society of control seeking men whose lustful ogling demonstrably attests to their complete and utter lack of any self-restraint whatsoever.

And speaking of lustful men, Sabra relates this hilarious incident to her readers:

Yesterday afternoon DH's friend Lee came over. He, along with three other buddies, had been to the “family” pool on our compound [we have a men only pool, a women only pool and a family pool where both men and women can go]. Lee said that there was a young Western girl there, sunbathing in her little Billabong bikini – which, by the way, is supposedly NOT allowed at the family pool – only at the women's pool, when a “local” middle-aged man came out of the men's changing room and couldn't keep his “lustful ogling” eyes to himself as he was walking and he wound up heels over head when his shins collided with a stationary bench. Lee said it was all he and his companions could do to keep from laughing hysterically at the spectacle the man created for himself – and the guy wasn't injured – just some minor scrapes from his bodily contact with the cement. Bet his pride was lowered a notch or two, and if it wasn't, it should have been. The moral, of course, is that he should have been keeping his eyes to himself and didn't; the sight of a young girl NOT draped in a hideous black garbage bag was just too much for him…