Thursday, December 9, 2010

You know you live in a country run by men when...

It should come as no surprise that women are slightly inferior in the minds of Saudi men. Women do not hold a position of power in any form of government, are restricted as to what jobs they can have, and their faces are even pixelated out of advertisement billboards and posters.

totally stole this picture from a housemate's facebook album. Thanks, Charles!

Sometimes, the lack of the feminine is so painfully obvious. First of all, unless you are shopping at a store that is owned by a Western corporation like Mango or H&M, you're shopping at a store that is completely owned, operated, and staffed by Saudi men. Their buyers are men, and they certainly don't go to Fashion Week to find what will be the hot new trend for their female patrons. No, no. These are men who wear white thobes and red gutras every day. They buy the cheapest items, and they buy them in 50 different colors, presumably to save time and money. That means there is a LOT of polyester going on over here! If I don't want to spend $60 on a long skirt for work, I can buy one for about $20...but it's going to be polyester, pleated, and too long. I have yet to buy a skirt that is properly long (they have to be floor length, but the store owners just get them with raw edges so you have to take them to a tailor to be hemmed). ONLY in a store owned by a man would this happen!

Secondly, the window displays and curb appeal is clearly catered to men. Some windows in the malls are done nicely, but I think that's because they have corporate guides for how the window should be designed. Otherwise, you're looking at a window that a chocker block stuffed full of ...well, ANYTHING! Toy stores only display the back sides of their shelves. Electronics stores will show you discarded cell phone boxes, computers that are only meant to be used for parts (and most of them have those parts just hanging out), and the occasional Apple sticker on the glass door. The clothing stores will hang a dress on a mannequin, then attach fishing wire to the side seams, which then gets attached to a suction cup attached to the window and pull the skirt out. One can assume they do this so you can get the full effect of the pattern on the fabric, but it only makes the dress look like an undesirable tent. Only a man would think this is a good idea.

Construction sites are left in shambles every night. There's no tidying up your work place so the neighbors don't have to run over your discarded nails and broken glass.

Business and directional signs are scrawled out in Sharpie marker on a piece of scrap wood or heavy cardboard, and the English --when present-- is not spell checked.

Buildings often have guards, and these guards need a place to sit while on duty. Instead of giving him a nice desk with a rolly chair or something like that, the Saudi men have just plopped an old section of a couch or a torn up armchair on the sidewalk. So not aesthetically pleasing.

Instead of getting decals for their work trucks or company vehicles, the Saudi men just rough out a stencil and spray paint their company logo on, often with the shadows of the stencil's outside border.

When the Bangladeshi street cleaners glean their way through the mounds and mounds of litter on the side of the road, they will cull out the recyclables and leave them for the city pick up...and by "leave them" I mean it quite literally. They just leave the cans in little piles on the side of the road like a little aluminum monster took a dump on the curb. Only a man would think this is acceptable. A woman would have a cute little box or receptacle of some sort for the recyclables to go.

There are so many other examples of the extreme lack of the female touch on this country...but I'll save that for another day.

Vicariously yours,

1 comment:

  1. Oh no, how terrible it is to live in a society where consumerist culture is not running wild...