|Jenna Al Shammary (photo credit: Saudi Gazette)|
Jenna Al-Shammary, a young Saudi school girl, excitedly dons bright red lipstick for her singing debut performing a Saudi National Day song in a theater play in the conservative city of Hail, Saudi Arabia. She normally doesn't wear lipstick, but this is a special occasion and she will be on stage in front of an audience of mature adult grown men, many with young daughters of their own. Her loosely draped long shiny emerald green satin robe is emblazoned with gold Palm trees and the crossed swords of the Saudi flag. Her long dark hair flows loosely down to her waist, like many of her young Saudi schoolmates.
She is nervous but confident. Jenna has practiced singing this song over and over again, but the butterflies in her stomach make her anxious that she will flub up the words of the song.
Eleven year old Jenna nails her performance.
But to her family's horror, within days of her performance, all hell seems to break loose and it's all negatively focused on Jenna. No mention is made of her voice, her singing, her patriotism, her stage presence. All attention is placed on her physical appearance. Social media websites criticize her appearance as "immodest," calling her unimaginable names, faulting her parents for allowing such "indecency." After all, she wore red lipstick on stage and did not cover her hair from the men in the audience. Such shame!
Really? Is this what Saudi's culture and religion supports and truly believes? Sexualizing a child? Publicly criticizing a child? Calling a child names that would incite a man to want to commit murder if he ever heard those names spoken about his own mother or sister or daughter?
Leave it to the perverted minds in Saudi Arabia to turn a child's innocent song of pride for her country into a tawdry sexualized scandal. All these idiotic men could focus on was Jenna's sexuality. This is the sign of a real sickness in this society. It is truly perverse and unhealthy. They see women and children merely as sexual objects.
There is never a valid reason to attack a child in this manner. An 11 year old should not be made to feel ashamed about her appearance or be made to feel like she is a sex object for men. After all, it's not like she was dressed up on stage like Lady Gaga or Madonna or even some contestant on Toddlers and Tiaras. What she wore and how she presented herself was perfectly acceptable in any normal society in this world.
What's NOT normal is the sick reaction and criticism from a few twisted deranged men in this audience and the perpetual sexualization of women and children in this society. THAT's what needs to be criticized, not an innocent 11 year old girl.
Saudi Gazette article, "Twitter users slam girl, 11, for ‘immodest’ National Day show"