Saudi Arabia: Rejected at the Mall

While the men may appear to have more freedoms and flexibility than women in the Kingdom, they face their own restrictions as well. It is not uncommon to see young men who wish to enter a shopping mall get rejected and turned away by security. Yes, you read that correctly. A young man, if either by himself or with some peers, will in all likelihood be turned away by mall security at the entranceway from being able to even enter the mall. The majority of shopping malls in Saudi Arabia will not allow single men or groups of men to enter as it can be perceived they are entering in order to watch women and try to meet members of the opposite sex. Therefore a man must be accompanied into a mall by a family which can be either wife, mother, Aunt or sisters. I guess you could say that this is one of the few times where the woman in a sense has an upper hand in that the man must have the assistance of a woman to go to a mall.

Now in my own personal opinion I also feel that in general most of the malls in Saudi Arabia are obviously more oriented towards female shoppers anyhow. And fortunately at least most of the stores the men like to go to such as men’s clothing stores, sporting good stores, electronic stores, computer stores, bookstores, etc., are usually located independently and not connected with a mall. These stores, located independently from a mall, such as bookstore or electronic store as examples, will not have prohibitions on men entering by themselves.


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