Arab Spring: A revolution of lingerie?

2 Feb

We all know about the staples of the classic feminist movement, one of them being, bra burning. In the 1960’s many “radical” women protested male oppression through the disposal of feminine products, such as brasseries, fake eyelashes and heels. This movement, still active with vivid imagery of setting fire to the patriarchy, is iconic to the origins of modern feminism.

Interestingly enough, Saudi Arabia, a fundamentally Islamic country (for the most part), is undergoing a very different Arab Spring. Rather than about class divides and power hungry leaders, this revolution is about WOMEN and LIBERATION.

Many feminist authors have critiqued the widespread gender segregation and oppressive male domination in many Islamic cultures. According to “Bra Revolution” from Indianexpress.com, “until this month, women—covered head to toe in black, faces veiled and always accompanied by an unwilling and embarrassed male relative—were forced to buy lingerie from salesmen, absolute strangers.”

Ending decades of awkwardness in ultra-conservativism

Facebook, a seemingly pervasive force in the Arab Spring was also vital here. Through an online campaign, encouraged women to not shop at any lingerie store that did not employ women. Needless to say, it worked!

King Abdullah, eventually, was made to enforce this law- a huge win for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. This might not seem like much to you or I, but it’s a major step in the rights of women in Islamic countries. For once, women are legally mandated to be employed in the workforce, creating a whole new level of potentiality in female independence. This can hopefully, decrease the forced reliance on men in these countries. This could be a great stepping-stone for women in the workforce to be able to do even the simplest tasks without the accompaniment of a man, like driving, which is currently illegal.

Bra burning to bra selling?? Who knew!

But, liberation nonetheless: D

2 Responses to “Arab Spring: A revolution of lingerie?”

  1. aliasmitch 02/02/2012 at 11:33 am #

    Great post InternationalCupcakeBandit! Women’s rights and agency in the Saudi kingdom are a completely different creature than they are in the United States and their being allowed to work in such a limited way is no trifling matter. I just have one slight correction about your post though, and its that bra burning in the United States never actually happened, its really just a myth that was started by the media in the sixties and has stuck to the public consciousness. NPR has a pretty great article about it here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=94240375

  2. internationalcupcakebandit 02/02/2012 at 3:52 pm #

    Wow! That’s REALLY good to know, also a great article! Thank you!

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