The current cultural norm in Saudi Arabia is one of keeping women from partaking in most of the advantages enjoyed by men. A source article on women driving is here
, or I bloged it under: Saudis Outraged Over Women-Drive Proposal
. Things are changing in the Kingdom, but it is a painful process. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of King Fahad, is a billionaire and somewhat of a reformer. Prince Talal financed a Saudi woman’s study in Jordan where she completed her training as a pilot. Not only that, but a company owned by the Prince hired her as a pilot. As you can imagine, this is stirring the fundamental Islamic pot. Saudi conservatives believe that women should remain in the home and not mix with men. If they must work, it should be in jobs such as teaching at a school for girls. See the aviation article here
The fundamental branches of all three of the great religions of Abraham: Judaism; Christianity; and Islam; emphasize ascetic appearance and eschewing the hedonism of the flesh for the promise of a spiritual future.
Current expression of Orthodox Judaism places an emphasis on shrouding both the male and female body from view. I am amused by a story recounted about a prominent Jewish figure in the Los Angeles area. He has his wife cut-out all of the brassiere advertisements in the Los Angeles Times before he reads the newspaper. One certainly has to admire the tenacity of the gentleman for adhering to his tenets. Though, I can’t imagine that there can be much left of the paper once the surgery is completed. Also, I wonder how this man makes it through a day in Los Angeles without being subjected to the endless display of female flesh. Does he walk around with his eyes closed?
Similar dress and attitudes about viewing the human body arrived on the shores of America with the first settlers escaping the religious tyranny of Europe. To a certain extent, the attitudes and ascetic style of dress continues in this country in a variety of Christian religious communities.
Fundamental Islam is ascetic for both males and females, but it has its greatest problem with women being seen in society literally and functionally.
The antipathy of hedonism is our heritage, and it is contrary to our nature. This is neither a great surprise nor a new revelation by any means. It is an acknowledgement of man’s inherent sensuousness and sexuality. What a conundrum we have created for ourselves. In order to create a more ordered society, we have constructed a precept in opposition to our nature.
Culturally suppressing females is not exclusive to the children of Abraham. It is found in all sorts of non-Abraham based cultures.
In a study recently published, researchers found that young female chimpanzees studied and learned while young males goofed off. The paper stated, “…each is doing something important, since the males' play is practice for later dominance behavior.” It further stated: “The behavior of both sexes may seem familiar to many parents…”; and "The sex differences we found in the chimps mimic some of the findings from the human child development literature." Read it here
What are we to conclude from this? First, it is perhaps the true nature of males to dominate. And if you have to dominate, what better subject is there than the female? Males attempting to dominate other males tend to cause wars. When was the last time that males dominating females led to war? Secondly, the male children of Abraham found a convenient justification for the repression of females.
Just for the record, let it be clear that this author does not
advance any theory that males should succumb to, nor justify, his basic nature of domination and suppression.