Saudi Arabia: Sensory Overload?

Routinely now one can see commercials where it is and going against each other as to which one is the best search engine.  Commercials will illustrate the millions of choices depending on how one searches and how easy it is to become overwhelmed with “search overload.”  While watching one of the commercials this past week it struck me that in a sense a Saudi coming to the first time to the United States could feel the same with “sensory overload.”  Think about it…there is gender segregation in Saudi Arabia.  Women must conform to a certain style of dressing and to an extent, Saudi men do too.  Images of women are blackened out from magazines and female products such as hair coloring, in stores. Cosmopolitan is not sold in Saudi Arabia.

With such a background in mind, imagine being in the shoes of a Saudi man for the first time strolling in any American mall?  What must go through is head seeing the lack of segregation?  What must he think on seeing men and women strolling leisurely as they hold hands and wearing basically whatever they want?

Sensory overload as I am describing it here is also the type of culture shock a newly arrived Saudi will experience on his first trip to United States or other Western country for that matter.  Yet how long does it take a newly arrived Saudi to overcome such culture shock? How does such an exposure impact on a Saudi and what perceptions does it reinforce or create of the Western world?


37 Responses

  1. I think it would be quite a shock if they hadn’t already been tipped off by tv and movies.

  2. Overwhelmed with joy, happiness, sense of liberation and resentment for the culture that denies him/her to choose what’s best for him/her.

    I know these facts first hand.

    This renders your theory that Saudis don’t need Western style democracy hallow at best. Who does not want to be free from the yoke of slavery like existence?

  3. In fact the Saudi will be feeling as if in a satanist country, overtaken by Satan. One fails to under stand why the women in America expose their body in th open market-place. What effect if creates on men. The men virtually become indifferent towards women, and th women loose their grace of a womanhood. Attire and dress gives you stature and personality, and the body is naturally supposed to be covered. Then there is free sex. Should there be difference between dog sex and human sex. No eligion teaches what is practised in America and for that matter in some other western countries, which they call it their culture. It is a hell culture. May Allah show the right path.

  4. Abdul, I think u mistake “indifference” for actual respect. A woman doesn’t need to be covered from head to toe in a black garment to get respect from men.

  5. Abdul, do you realise that America has lots and lots of Muslims and other very orthodox reliogious people? Do you figure they are practicing evil dog sex too? LOL

  6. my first trip back to the states after over a year in saudi…ya, i was in a culture shock from my own country. i didn’t want to drive, and the girls showed to much skin. i get it.

  7. Abdul…Abdul…Abdul,

    What it must feel like to land in Satan’s country! To walk among heathens whom you know commit “dog-sex” routinely – and you know that they practice this “dog-sex” because of their attire. Amazing powers of perception, Abdul.
    You can actually “see” them performing such “dog-sex” in your mind…the mind reels at the vast possibilities your brain must reveal to you on an hourly basis. Do you stumble when these visions come to you? I should think you’d walk into a post or wall sometimes. I would. Geez.
    I fail to see how dressing the same as everyone else, Abdul, gives you personality and respect. I see it as a bit conforming, Abdul…kind of BORING, Abdul. But that’s just me – a heathen from Hell who must run now…time for “dog-sex”, you know! Good grief…

  8. Abdul,

    Your generalities of American woman are blown out of proportion and simply unfair. The United States of America was founded on Christianity. Many settled here so they would have the right to practice their religion freely. Don’t categorize all American woman under this cloak of “loose women”. Our constitution protects all. I am a devout Christian woman. I am told by God’s word to dress modesty. I do this. I am not cloaked in total darkness. Do I agree with some parts of my society? Absolutely not! This is where me being the best parent to my children, lead by example. My parents brought me up in a Christian home, with Christian values. Before you become so unfair with your judgement against American women, allow yourself enlightenment into our many facets of our society. I don’t agree, as you don’t like many things that are going on here. Just don’t put us under one umbrella when doing so. Secondly, God, always has the final vote. His will be done.

  9. Laughing that I live in a satanist country. 🙂

  10. “The United States of America was founded on Christianity.”

    Sorry, it was founded on illumanti dark forces! The Freemasons! Check it out.

    The battle begins…

  11. Actually, it was founded on religious freedom…among others.

  12. Actually it wasn’t lost to begin with..ask those that were already here to form the welcome *cough cough* party.

  13. Abdul, I have a low opinion of most Muslims, but you take the cake. Why don’t you turn your moral outrage on your dear prophet? Have you read the hadith? Do you know what he did? I doubt that even the most liberal (or loose) Western woman has done the vile things your prophet has done. So, uncover a human body, immoral – but kill, plunder, torture, enslave, and rape and you say “praise be upon him”. You are pathetic! Oh yes, want verses? references? links?

    To other Muslims here, please ignore my words, they are for Abdul only.

  14. America is founded upon the best constitution on the planet which keeps state and government secular and absolutely apart from personal religion. Whether that religion happens to be christian or whatever.

    Abdul, the body is not mean to be covered. If it was we would have been covered at birth. With fur or something. As it is women who completely veil get diseases and sometimes even deformed children due to the lack of sunlight on their skin. So actually we have proof that women are not supposed to cover their skin.

    As to respect for women and the absence of the constant state of sexual arousal which seems to be the primary difference of the effect which a normal healthy choice of dress suited to the climatic situation seems to have on a society, I think all intelligent women would prefer that to the constant paranoia and harassment from men the Saudi female uniform produces. As we hear from the personal experiences related by expats and Saudi women.

  15. I am pleased to see many shades of opinion coming forth on my comment. Some say covering the body does not mean covering it from head to foot in a black veil; some say that God did not like humans to cover their bodies. Had He willed so he would have covered their bodies at birth itself like other animals, say dogs; some say that I should have not clubbed all americans in to one group as ‘loose women’. Some (jay kactuz) have shown their outrage by even speaking ill against my Prophet and have given vent to many unfounded things, some say I am a bore, some say there are lot of Muslims, so do I mean they also induge in ‘dog-sex’. One fellow says he is a heathen and will indulge in the dog sex I reproduce him ‘But that’s just me – a heathen from Hell who must run now…time for “dog-sex”, you know! Good grief…’

    My reply to all of them is Human being is a superior specie and Prophets and religions are meant for them not for animals. I have never talked about Islam because the topic was not that. Further Quran itself gives freedom to people to practice as they like, but it enjoins upon them to follow the right path if they have sense to do so.
    Mr. or Mrs. or Miss, who-so-ever jay kactuz is, I would like to remove his/her grave misconceptions about islam, if he/she writes to me in dtail on my e-mail .
    I have nowhere said that a woman should cover her body completly from head to foot. that is a personal selection and depends upon the religion and culture you adopt. But what I said that no religion advocates nakedness, wawardness or looseness, but all ordain women to be appropriately and modestly dressed, which has its own virtues which you can understand when you understand your religion properly. Further in the topic under comment three women have been shown, all naked, so what one can generalise. The writer has said that Saudis land in this ‘naked’ culture. That culture takes the foreground which majority of people adopt and run. There may be some pockets of muslims, or devout Christians, but they do not correspond with the images shown. Would any one disagree that the number of unwed mothers is growing at an alarming rate in America, those also mostly among immature teenagers, would anyone disagree about the open sex culture in America, would any one disagree that the rape and murder cases are on the high rise in America. Do these things happening in Saudi Arabia or for that matter in any other Asian Muslim Country. No! So better for you to reframe your self and ponder over the drift the American society is heading to.

  16. my e-mail has not come out properly in my comment which is

  17. Jay: Not all Muslims feel America is Satan’s country, so no need to put down their Prophet.

    I wish Abdul weren’t so closed minded about other cultures which differ from his own, but c’est la vie…that’s life – especially when he obviously was brought up to believe only his traditions were right and was not given a chance to exhibit personal freedoms of his own. Hard to think otherwise, I guess.

    The thing is, Abdul, there are many, many cultures out there that are just as important as your own. Stop being so darn judgmental of others and learn a thing or two about tolerance and acceptance. You’ll be much happier and more energetic not policing the world.

  18. Abudl: You obviously don’t understand sarcasm. I was being sarcastic when I said I needed to go have “dog sex”…I am not quite sure what “dog sex” is, but apparently you do. I think you should try to see the positive in other cultures instead of concentrating on the negatives. We could go on and on about the many negatives in Muslim countries, but I don’t think we really need to go there, do we? You know they exist, and so do I. Yet, I am also aware of the positives in Muslim cultures..and obviously there are many positives about America, otherwise millions wouldn’t still want to move there.

  19. Abdul,
    ALL the same things happen in Saudi Arabia. People just pretend they do not. Ask the western surgeons who their client base is for “surgical again virgins?” Khaleeji women. Ask a Saudi orphanage where some of the “orphans” come from???? Ask why Saudi punishes rape victims and if you think victims are likely to come forward- or if their family is likely to let them come forward.

    Saudi is a Patriarchal NOT Islamic society and is very secretive about it’s “sins” and does not keep good public statistics. There is compulsion in nearly everything.

    The US allows all the human rights and freedom of religion that Islam does. And sorry- there is not “free sex” in America. Each person makes those decisions for themselves.

  20. Well said (written), Sandy!

  21. “Then there is free sex.”

    I’ve lived in the US all my life, where is the free sex?

    As far as it being covered. I agree with Aafke. If we were meant to be covered we would be covered with fur (just think monkees or dogs). Of course in Minnesota in winter a layer of clothes outside is essential.

    The women in the photos aren’t naked (do you really understand English, Abdul?). They are young and fashionably dressed but hardly any less dressed than many young women one would see on a summer day. The photos don’t indicate debauchery, they simply show that these women live in a place not obsessed with sex. So, they are not made to cover their bodies with black bags.

  22. abdul
    you need to go to america and get some of that free sex from an american cutie girl….you will never think about dog sex again. cured. i do agree with alot you wrote, but dang, come on now.

  23. @abdul

    You should check you statistics. Murder rates in the US are not rising and have been falling for some time.


    Murder is down to where it was in the mid 1960’s. Rape is going down but it is still much higher than it was in the early 1960’s (some of this may be reporting issues).

  25. Shock and awe never fail to return to me whenever I stroll through almost any other mall outside of KSA. First of all, you can freely glance or smile at others without anyone thinking it automatically means something. You can shake hands and be nice to anyone without their ‘sponsors/bosses’ thinking that you have bad intentions or evil ideas behind what you are doing.

    In KSA, I feel much safer going about my day to day things, but it all comes at a price.

  26. The fact that clothing is used as an issue on how people are viewed as, good or bad, easy to get into bed or hard, ect….is retarded.

    The things I’ve noticed is the intense sexually repressed ideas on women are…and again, the hightened view of sexual behavior being used if a person is good or not.

    Being a good person doesn’t change in the bedroom, if you’re good, you’re good, if you’re bad you’re bad….doesn’t matter what you wear or if you hold a nickle inbetween your knees at all times.

  27. Saudi is such a repressed society that you never get the truth: of sex outside of marriage, battered wives, incest, molestation, homosexuality etc etc. It is all hidden. In USA, the truth is allowed to speak. Because the truth is repressed in Saudi, you cannot characterize Saudi as moral. It is secretive. Not at all the same.

    USA is not bad because the truth is spoken. Not repressing the truth means that abuses are addressed and there can be healing as well as freedom.

  28. Well said Lark!

  29. Without claiming that we don’t have a problem with rape or murder, we have to take into account that the U.S. has a different definition of rape than Sharia. For example, we have a concept of marital rape and rape by coercion that I don’t believe exists in Sharia law. Also, since one can be punished with lashing or a death sentenced if your charge of rape is turned into a charge of adultry against you..many might be disinclined to report it. in actuality, South Africa is by far the worst country for rape. Canada has over twice the # of rapes per capita than the U.S. 23 countries have more murders per capita than the US. That said, do we have some work to do in America to clean up our act? Yes we do. I’m just pointing out that while the US is not the safest, it is not the most unsafe either. Out of curiosity, do Saudi men also have a shock from some of the male fashions in the US? I was trying so hard not to laugh this morning at the walks two young men had going trying to keep their way to saggy pants on!

  30. I agree, well said, Lark.

  31. Are Saudis really shocked when they see women in the West? They must have some idea, even if it is only what they hear in sermons calling the West a den of iniquity?

  32. And going further on what Jerry M just asked, don’t most of them watch any American TV shows and/or movies? Also among a few isn’t porn a fun pasttime? So surely they aren’t all that shocked seeing those images in real life such as in an American mall. Maybe only the few who only watched Saudi religious channels and never realized women had legs under those black capes.

  33. one day saudi will be just like the west, give it time. saudi men use to go to the west and study,and they would walk together and hold hands…who told them not to do that because it looks gay? a girl, i’m sure. do they go back to their country and keep holding hands? i doubt it…the west has won.

  34. I don’t know about that Gia, didn’t president Bush walk holding hands with King Abdullah IN the U.S.?

  35. But Gia, I hope that KSA can be more like the west one day. I’m sure that for every person proclaiming the greatness of the life there there are 100 wishing they were free from all the restrictions on their personal liberties.

  36. I’ve frequently seen Saudi men holding hands and freely hugging and kissing each other in a manner of greeting and friendship.

    I know for as well-traveled as I have been, I still suffered my own initial degree of culture shock on arriving in Saudi Arabia and seeing distinctions firsthand. I think it is typical for a first time and i underscore first time Saudi traveling to the West undoubtedly will feel a sense of culture shock too when the changes in lifestyle and culture are “in your face.”

  37. Interesting post and intelligent comments, in short good and evil co-exist every where – same applies to USA & KSA.
    Just showing some more skin does not make a nation or sect completely moral abiding nor vice versa.

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