This photo of the religious police warning women has gone viral. These two members of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV for short) told these fully covered women to stop swinging on the swings in a public park in broad daylight because it might prove too tempting for men passing by and that the women might open themselves up to harassment or attacks by men.
Twitter is ablaze with the photo and funny taglines, like "Screw driving. In Saudi Arabia women can't even swing!" or "Watch out! Swinging makes you slutty in KSA." or "...because it affects the ovaries?"
Sadly, this action on the part of the religious police doesn't really surprise me anymore. But what does surprise me is the feedback from some people in response to this incident - supporting, commending, even applauding the actions of the religious police that certainly the warnings were given in the best interest of the women.
Don't these people realize that there is something seriously wrong with a country when a woman cannot feel safe from men bothering her when she is doing something as innocent as swinging in a public park in broad daylight?
If one woman were alone by herself at night, okay - then maybe I might understand - a word to the wise. But when they are with a group of five or six women, they should be afraid of being attacked? In broad daylight? In a place like Saudi Arabia?
This is, after all, the Land of Islam, where men are supposedly taught from a young age to respect and protect women, not to harass or hurt women. Why can't the men of this country be held to this standard, be held responsible for their actions, and simply be expected to behave themselves and leave women alone?
These women who are in a group, fully covered in black from head to toe, are outside, merely trying to enjoy the cooler weather and get some fresh air. Heaven knows, most of the year is too darn hot for women dressed up like nuns to enjoy being outdoors because of the oppressive heat! These women are not out looking to tempt men or trying to attract unwanted attention. These girls just wanna have a little fun! What is wrong with that?
Women cannot drive vehicles in Saudi Arabia. Women cannot ride bikes in public here. Women are discouraged from participating in sports here. Women cannot travel without the permission of her legal male guardian, who can control her every move all of her life – or go to school, or seek medical attention, or – shall I go on?
And NOW, women are not supposed to use swings because men cannot be expected to control themselves at the sight of a woman on a swing? Puh-lease!!!
I personally refuse to live my life in fear here. And I hope these women refuse to live their lives in fear here. Hold Saudi men accountable!!!
I’m going out to find me some swings! Ladies - join me?