Wednesday, 4 March 2015

When Boys become Men and Girls become Women in Saudi Arabia?

The other day at this exhibition that I went to, there was quite a lot of disturbance.  At first I couldn’t understand the chaos but later I realized it happened because a mother had brought her six year old boy along, to a Ladies only event. Now to you or me, it wouldn’t seem as an awkward thing because it’s just a six year old boy! But in Saudi Arabia, it is really a big deal. The mother had brought her along and kept arguing with the shop guard to let the boy stay in. I am clueless as to why this woman brought her son to this event in the first place. I think she didn’t know it was an all ladies event or there was probably no one to look after her son, at home.

She could leave the son at the gate but then everyone would accuse her as a bad mother so she opted not to. The little boy stood there in confusion as the security officer kept screaming how she shouldn’t move a step further. Incidents like these have happened very often so I stay confused as what is the specific age for a boy to be a man? What specific is it for a young boy not allowed to accompany his mother in a ladies event? But I guess for Saudi people here, six years means a man and not a boy. Back at home, I remember when my brothers were of this age, all they were worried about was cartoons, super heroes and bike riding. They seemed to have no interest in women unless it was the neighbor’s lady who used to make cookies. They were attracted to the cookies, not the woman.

However this is Saudi Arabia and boys are brought up here in a different way.  Young boys here know where they are supposed to go and where not. Not is usually the place where females are. After talking about this with my fellow foreign nationals, I was surprised to hear super influencing remarks by them. It is extremely okay for us to watch our kids do mimicry but do we shed enough light upon the fact that this is how they’re learning about behavior and morals, because kids tend to catch concepts really fast. I got to know how after 7 years, it’s the father who is responsible for raising the son and after 12 years, the son is no longer IN his sexual maturity phase but in fact, has passed it.

The boy after 12 has turned into a man and according to Saudi people; sisters and mothers can totally rely upon this 12 year old. It’s shocking because back in the western culture, we’d have to wait like around 18 years for our brothers to actually grow up and be mature and sensible! Boys can never be guessed about what age they are so guards in Saudi malls would probably have to hint about their age and then not allow them to enter into the females section. What’s surprising is how girls can easily be classified as WOMEN because they have to wear abayas!

So girls here should be ready to cover themselves and stop hanging out with males because after they have menstruated ONCE, they are said to be women, even if they are just 11-12 years old. Quite a few mothers in Saudi don’t tell about their daughter’s menstrual case as others might think of her being accessible now. We can’t even say the mothers are wrong here because childhood in Saudi is over SO quickly! To conclude this, the age of the boy is left for the guard at the mall to guess and whether he should enter the ladies section with his mother or not, is left as a mystery!

Saudi Culture
  1. Women Cannot Drive in KSA but what about Children?
  2. The problems of being a female doctor in Saudi Arabia
  3. My First Experience of Attending Saudi Wedding
  4. When will the Women Drive in Saudi Arabia?
  5. Handshaking between men and women in Saudi Arabia


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