I wrote an earlier post on how I believe in Saudi Arabia the perception and view (no pun intended) of the woman’s body is taken to the extreme. A woman is naturally blessed with hips, waist and breast. Yet in Saudi Arabia so much emotional ire is raised about a woman’s body and how the woman must not expose herself as men will not be able to control themselves or their carnal desires.
In fairness, and thanks to a suggestion from an American Bedu reader, I am now writing a post from the other side of the spectrum about the Saudi Man and taking his body to the extreme. For example, while a Saudi woman is expected to cover from head to shoulders in her black heat-drawing abaya and wear a black hijjab to cover her head and possibly a niqab so that only her eyes are showing even if the temperature is 50 degrees C or 115 F, the man on the other hand, may wear a short sleeve t-shirt, shorts which fall to the knee and flip flops.
The man is certainly more comfortable and appropriately dressed for the intense temperature. But what does he feel or think about the way he has dressed? Does it ever occur to him that his choice of dress may make him a “woman magnet?” Does he fear that maybe women might be unable to control their impulses by seeing a man who is choosing to expose skin? Or does the man want to be noticed by women, even if he may already be married?
There are numerous gyms and fitness centers for men in Saudi Arabia. Why do so many men choose to belong to these centers? Is it because of vanity and a sense of “self” that being fit and having muscles makes them more attractive? Or is it to be healthy, active and prolong life? And come on, I want any males reading this to respond with the gut answer. But for those who have not been to Saudi Arabia, I will try to paint the picture with my words. Ironically many of the gyms and fitness centers are open. They are open in the sense of having large windows with no curtains or blinds. Usually treadmills, bikes, elliptical machines and other exercise equipment is positioned in front of these large windows. Anyone passing by gets a “front row view” of the men who are working out in their exercise gear. Anyone can see these men stand up and stretch their muscles with sweat across their brow.
However women are challenged to easily find fitness centers in the Kingdom. The fitness centers for women will also either be totally enclosed by a gate and security guards and/or a windowless facility. Some fitness centers for women had been closed down as there had been a governmental decree that any fitness facility for women had to be authorized and approved by the Ministry of Health. Yet…that did not apply to the fitness centers and gyms for the men. Why would that be, I wonder?
So it might seem that the body is taken to both sides of the spectrum in Saudi Arabia depending on whether male or female. Moi n’cest pas?
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