Veera Korhonen

discovering rhetoric

Commonplace: Women in Saudi Arabia

Commonplace: Women in Saudi Arabia

“We all have to live in the borders of the boxes our dads or husbands draw for us.” – Zahra, a 25 year old Saudi woman, April 7th, 2016

In Saudi Arabia, women are completely surrendered to a male perspective and a hierarchy built specifically for men. Women aren’t even necessarily considered actual adults in Saudi Arabia, they are listed as dependents of a male guardian. The religious laws in Saudi Arabia have compressed the freedom of women to a point where they aren’t even aware that they are basically living in captivity.

Living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia as a young teenage girl, I am astonished when I read these articles about a country that I spent three defining years of my life in. No woman, no matter their religion, should have to reform to rules and regulations that keep her from being her best self, from reaching her full potential, and from playing her own part in the world, not just there to serve men.

Spending three years covering my hair and body in black cloth, forbidden from driving, swimming, going to the gym, or even trying on clothes at mall was an experience that changed the way that I view myself. Saudi Arabia made me believe that being a girl was unhealthy, that men hold all the power, and always will be better than me. When going back to the States, I would feel uncomfortable wearing a skirt or a dress, scared of the religious police hunting me down, with a cane in hand. Zahra’s quote shows the immensity of the problem, the vast power that men have over women, and the damage it does to women living in a Saudi society.

Works Cited:

@Hrw. “Boxed In.” Human Rights Watch, 15 Aug. 2016,

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