Dienstag, 19. Juli 2011

All the way to Saudi Arabia

Well, nobody says that we're close to Saudi Arabia. It's pretty far away, sure. You'd take a plane to go there. And the differences are vast. And look at how bad women have it there. Really bad. No-one in their right mind would compare the situation with the one here.
But truth is, you can walk there. Well, if you are in continental Europe.
Each steps takes you a little closer to Saudi Arabia. Surely, you don't notice a difference going from Germany to Austria. But you go further. Things are still pretty good in Hungary. Maybe the gender roles are a bit more traditional, a bit more open sexism. Still, not that much to worry about.
Macho culture in Romania and Bulgaria might make you worry a bit. Istanbul in Turkey shows more headscarves already and the more you move away from the capital, the more they become. Finally you have to cross Syria with all its troubles. You're happy that your trip through Iraq is short. And you reach Saudi Arabia. With its open misogyny. With its laws that prohibit women to drive. With its burqas.
Your journey started at home, where things are good, but each tiny step brought you one step closer to Saudi Arabia.
Now, we can't put more distance between ourselves and Saudi Arabia. And it would be really stupid to believe that there was simply a continuum of sexism from Germany or France over Bulgaria to Saudi Arabia.
Sorry if you felt your country missrepresented, it was for the sake of illustration only. But I think it makes a point: Things aren't black and white, things aren't easy.
We can't move physical countries, but we also can't prevent sexism and misogyny increasing by just noting our difference from and to Saudi Arabia. But as a culture, as a society, we can move away. We can refuse to make the very first small step. By not letting a sexist remark slide. By not belittling women, their experiences and concerns. By not making their lives worse.


Maureen Brian hat gesagt…

I like that.

Sharmin hat gesagt…

I very much agree. Rights are something we have to pay attention to, instead of assuming too much, to prevent things from getting worse while actually also helping those who have it worse. This is why I get upset when people claim that the fight for equal rights is over or no longer needed, because it's not a one-way street --- we have to keep constant vigilance.