Adrienne BoettingerThursday,3 October 2013

The Snap:

At the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, there’s a piece that annoys the bejeezus out of me. Walk up the glorious main staircase and you’re confronted with “Adam and Eve,” sculpted by Gioavanni del Robbia. In addition to Adam and Eve, there is a snake whose face mirrors that of Eve, echoing the predominant belief at the time (and among some still) that women are evil and should be ashamed of themselves. Whenever I hear of institutionalized sexism, I think of that sculpture. Such was the case when I learned that a Saudi cleric is advising women not to break the religious taboo against driving because it will damage their ovaries. Well, when I heard about that I also thought about how this idiot’s science teachers must be banging their heads into a wall realizing that they had a hand in rearing this goober.

The Download:

If you’ve read my posts at The Snap Download for any length of time you’ve learned that a) I simply adore it when old men tell me what to do with my lady bits and b) I dream of our current government being replaced by that of “The West Wing.” I will address both in my discussion of the asinine reasoning behind holding women back in Saudi Arabia.

First, those pesky lady bits. They sure make it hard to concentrate on complicated things like math, science, politics and operating a motor vehicle. It’s a wonder that we’re able to do anything at all, being so hobbled by our uteruses and whatnot. Maybe that’s why in Saudi Arabia, women aren’t allowed to leave the home unless accompanied by a male relative. Goodness, who knows what could happen if we were left to our own devices! I’ve nearly got the vapors just thinking about it.

Secondly, where do I start with my girl-crush on Ms. Cregg? Sure, she’s fictional but I’d still agree to be her minion to bask in her righteous awesomeness. When it comes to her thoughts on the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia, it doesn’t get better than her unflinching, calmly seething diagnosis of “our partners in peace” and the innumerable ways Riyadh treats women as less than their testosteronic counterparts.

There’s this concept that seems to hold constant when it comes to international relations, particularly with the Middle East; namely, that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Thus, we ignore the all-encompassing ways our “partners in peace” treat the female half of the population because we’re short of actual friends in the region. Or is it because within the hallowed halls of our own institutions echoes the same misogynistic feelings as are seen in Riyadh? For while women are allowed to drive and to leave home unaccompanied, we continue to be paid less than men and to be underrepresented in government.

For a good news story about a Saudi woman who refuses to be held back, check out this story from Mother Jones.

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Hat Tips:

Walters Art MuseumThe AtlanticCNNThe West WingReutersMother Jones, Image Credit: Flickr

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