I was recently asked what it was like to live in a society like Saudi Arabia where, there is gender segregation and well... shit is about to get real honest. Living in a gender segregated society is amazing, I love it. Now, we’re not talking about women not being able to drive right now, so push that out of your head for the next couple months; because worry not, I will write about that one!
Gender segregation in Saudi Arabia seems like an archaic, out-of-date, and biased society to someone like me, who grew up in the US and never had to deal with such. Honestly when I was preparing to move to Saudi Arabia, I wasn’t even really sure how I felt about this. Growing up my best friend was a boy named Travis, and honestly if we would have lived in a society like Saudi Arabia; we would have never met. ↰ That all seems pretty negative, right? Let me tell you why I actually like it…
You see as a woman who was born and raised in the US to a very open-minded family, I was still faced with the day to day societal pressures that face all young girls; we have to look a certain way, dress a certain way, weigh a certain amount, or you won’t fit in. Often times in western society there is an emphasis placed on a woman's sexuality and femininity, and that can make some people (like me) feel a little self-conscious. You see, I wasn’t really in tune with being feminine until I grew older and even then being out in public, I was always aware of how people perceived me; in particular of the opposite gender. Living in Saudi Arabia and being segregated based on gender doesn’t always relieve that feeling; sometimes we women can be worse than men, but it does help.
When we look at segregated scenarios in Saudi Arabia you’re looking at more often than not restaurants, cafes, gyms, and women's “speciality” stores - not EVERYTHING is segregated; for instance malls, supermarkets, and shopping centers are not segregated.
Why do I like segregated restaurants and cafes? I don’t eat like a “girl”, if I get ribs (beef ribs, ya’ll calm down), I wanna pick them up, eat them with my hands and suck the bone dry; you can surely expect that I’m not going to be dainty eating them. If you eat like I do, people wonder one of two things “Where did she put it all?” or “Damn how the hell does she eat like that?”. Not all restaurants offer the private booths, but most are segregated and I feel far less judgement eating like that in front of other women than men.
I love the fact that I go to a segregated gym, I love the fact that my husband goes to a segregated gym...Why? For one, I don’t have to worry about someone coming up, interrupting my workout to ask me if I need a spotter. Two I can wear whatever I want, and still be comfortable. We all know yoga pants draw attention anywhere, if you don’t believe me? Click here for FouseyTube... This is not me being conceited or having a large ego, I seriously just want to be comfortable. I go to the gym to do my workout and leave, I don’t go to socialize and I don’t want to be bothered while there… I had the same sentiments in the US before becoming Muslim but sadly, the all female gyms are few and far between or are ridiculously expensive.
When it comes to women’s specialty stores, I’m talking bra’s and panties. I know that no matter where I go, whether it be here in Saudi or back in the US, I just do not want some random guy to fit me for a bra; that’s just me...maybe you feel different - but I am not about to have some guy feeling on me or asking what I’m looking for when it comes to my “undergarment”, or what will look sexy for my husband.
Now despite what I say or reasons as to why I feel more comfortable and enjoy living in a gender segregated society, not everyone feels the same; and that is okay! I feel an overall higher level of comfort when I don’t have to worry about some dude following me out of the gym at 10pm to ask for my number in the parking lot…which actually happened at the Gold’s Gym on E. Washington St. in Indianapolis, IN.
What do you think about potentially living in a gender segregated society.. Would you love it or hate it?