Petty tyranny in Saudi Arabia. I could also label it everyday misogyny in Saudi Arabia, or minor oppression in Saudi Arabia.
Restaurants in Saudi Arabia have been asked to remove signs which forbid entry to single women, it appears.
The request comes from the kingdom’s National Society For Human Rights, which says the signs on the doors of eateries are “illegal”, the Arabic-language Al-Hayat newspaper reports. A restaurant owner says he put up the signs because of “numerous incidents” of flirting. “We’ll only remove these signs when we make sure such incidents never happen again on our premises,” he told the paper.
One wonders (ok I wonder) what the owner considers “flirting.” I suspect it’s anything beyond eyes down ignoring – on the part of women, that is. Clearly men are allowed to ogle. Why clearly? Because the owner wants to exclude women, not men.
And how much “flirting” is it possible to do when one party is enveloped in an abaya?
It’s interesting what seems to be assumed in all this kind of thing – which is that the only real people are men, and that real people (men) go about their business as they should when things are properly arranged, but that’s disrupted when the contaminant of women intrudes on the normal space of Men. Men are protagonists and subjects, while women are like a virus.
NSHR spokesman Khalid Al-Fakhri tells the Saudi Gazette that restaurants have no legal right to exclude single women from their premises, or insist that they [be] in the company of a guardian. “These signs are against the law and reflect the personal opinions of the restaurant owners,” he says, urging establishments to devise alternative arrangements if they think that customers are behaving inappropriately. The paper quotes one woman as saying, “If they’re going to ban us from entering restaurants, where are we supposed to go?” – pointing out that restaurants are some of the few establishments where Saudi women can go unaccompanied.
Well that’s a silly question. Women aren’t supposed to go anywhere. Good women stay inside.
Still. The right to go into restaurants is a trivial thing. Stoning is a worse thing, so we shouldn’t be talking about not being allowed to go into restaurants.