Studying in US has given me a great opportunity to observe and understand people from different backgrounds, cultures and religions but most importantly it has enabled me to observe and study people from my own country. I was curious to explore the level of understanding between Saudi men and Saudi women here in the open and free society where both men and women have the freedom to interact with each other without restriction or fear. What I found out from my experience is funny, interesting and sometimes sad. I will answer series of questions from my own experience in working and studying with both Saudi men and women.
First Question: Do Saudi men understand Saudi women?
Saudi men in back home didn’t put any effort to fulfill the gap of understanding between them and women because first and for most they don’t see any needs for that since they have the (social) power in their side and second because of the separation issue. Now here in US, I have encountered some Saudi who felt the need for fulfilling that gap of understanding to correct many of their assumptions. So, they go and interact with saudi girls like brothers and sister and best friends. They work together for Saudi event, they interact openly and they exchange stories and experiences.
I have also encountered Saudi guys who couldn’t accept the idea that Saudi women would have equal power to them. I remember one time I was talking with a Saudi girl in the university campus and once I finished my conversation with her, a saudi young guy came to me and told me that he wants to marry that girl ,although that he has never met her before. Surly, in that guy’s mentality, woman would never say no and even if she said no, she is for sure the loser! Now, how can I deal with this mentality? I didn’t say anything to him and went to my class
Another saudi young guy I have met has another interesting and funny story. He told me that he thinks that one Saudi girl has fallen in love with him and when I asked him how, he told me with full confidence : ” She smiled at me last week”??
I have met three Saudi girls who complained about other Saudi guys and their mentality. “Whenever I walk around campus, I see Saudi guys gazing at me” She told me. Another girl told me that she is felt tired of receiving continues love E-mail from another Saudi guy. There are plenty of stories of this kind and it made me despair sometimes but once I encounter a saudi decent guy who would improve the whole image, I renewed my hope again!
I have spent a lot of my time trying to understand the cause of such behavior from guys but I failed to get to any conclusion. For example, I thought that might be due to separation between male and female but then I realized that even students from UAE and Kuwait at our university have exactly the same problem. I think I would need to study in depth the psychological and social factors that led to this problem.
Do Saudi women understand themselves? Did they succeed in representing new image of strong and smart women to the public and Saudi?