Saudi Arabia: Marriage and Family Life but No Women Wanted

There is a competition that is ongoing at this moment which allows Saudis to create and nominate a three minute film which focuses on marriage and family life.  The film should be positive and encouraging on what is necessary for a happy marriage and family life.  However…contestants must be careful with what they submit as no women should be in the film!

How would YOU make your film?


33 Responses

  1. well, i probably wouldnt make a film at all under such horrible condition of erasing half of the world’s population, especially when it is about a happy family, happy families include happy women so it totally beats the purpose.

  2. I would second latinamuslimah. You cannot make a film about family life without women (hint: who brings them into the world?). It is only the crazy tribal customs that assume this is somehow just.

  3. I thought gay marriage is prohibited in Saudi!

    The link (competition) is blocked.

  4. Snowman:

    This is the link maybe you can open it.

  5. Marriage and family life without women? What in the world?! If you take women out of the marriage equation, all you have left to marry are men. It’s a sad world without women in it. Seriously, imagine it.

    But if you had those stipulations, I’d love to see a film of Saudi fathers changing their babies’ diapers. I’m assuming children are halal.


  6. Wow…So i assume that no one came from a broken home where the child has had to live with a mother and no father OR a father and NO mother. I’m sure happiness is a lot like beauty…It’s all in the eyes of the beholder. There is no set way to be happy. What would make you happy might make me miserable. Who is to say what makes anyone person happy or make a happy home?!

    While the movie is about marriage….I thought we lived in a time of open mindedness…at least in the US. I feel that the wold is in much need of another period of enlightenment
    Also…before women even had a voice in society, female roles were played by men…Just an FYI

  7. Marriage may be half one’s deen, but apparently it is 0% of one’s happy family life.

  8. The competition URL is blocked so you can’t even see what the rules are !!
    How about the women filming their family life, that way they would be behind the camera.

  9. I don’t understand about the non women rule. Saudi series like Tash ma Tash has women all d time. If i did a video, i would focus and emphasize the mother as the gatekeeper of happiness for the family. I would make a video like this

  10. Not to be sarcastic….but I would refuse to create such a film within the given parameters as it is an inaccurate depiction of marriage and the family….without a woman. Plain and simple….I would not give whom ever is sponsoring the competition/contest the pleasure of thinking that the film has any level of truth or accuracy.

  11. @Allyson, here are two of the paragraphs about the competition from the article cited above.

    ““The charity society aims to spread awareness about family values. It also encourages the participation of all people to spread the noble values of marriage,” Al-Othaim said. Submissions should be on the theme of security in marriage. Its duration should not be more than three minutes, he said.

    The contest is open to all except establishments and companies. The film should focus on any aspect of marriage such as the security of religious faith, psychological security, health security or economic security. Another condition for the contest is that the film should not violate any Islamic teachings, such as the appearance of woman or music.”

  12. I think you could do this and just show the women covered , or just show the kids and do a voice over of the husband and wife.
    it is wrong to hide just the women , but the men participating could make it so that they don’t see men even and just the kids, maybe that will send amessage.

  13. I agree with Radhaa. They should just blot out the women’s faces and have a voiceover in a male voice :)- Just like they do it for mohammed in films and pictures.

    KSA has women anchors/reporters on it’s tv and regularly publishes pics of women in it’s newspapers and mags. So I have a hard time understanding the saudi logic/fetish on this issue.

    But then ksa is a land of contrasts and contradictions …..

  14. In fairness, I think the regulations probably infer uncovered women but the way which it is written does not convey it adequately.

    I agree; a film about family should include mom, dad and children…perhaps even grandparents too!

  15. I agree with Allyson about having the women interview their family, or having the narrators be women of different ages and their opinions and experiences on family life.

    @American Bedu,
    It could actually mean that women should not be viewed at all in the film- whether or not they are covered.

  16. Didn’t KSA have some public service TV announcements with women/wife type figure in the family? Smth about Dad, Mom and kids doing homework type thing?

  17. Yes; there have been official PSA announcements from Saudi with women in them and many shows and newscasts which have women.

    To me, the essence of a Saudi family video would have the parents, grandparents and children having a meal and then going to the mosque for evening prayer.

  18. OK, I bit my tongue for QUITE a while, plus further “cool down time” whilst I handled my aged father’s recent hospitalization.
    Hence, I’m not going for my INITIAL emotional response, or my later emotional response and then going for my initial logical response…
    The one I favored at first and still now.
    Film the entire film from the WIFE’S perspective, complete with discourse, similar to the movie “The Message”.
    The ONLY complaint possible is for showing children, which would be rejected by the populace and the religious police, yet again, beaten and left in the desert outside of the town or city. 🙂
    It would fulfill the stated goal, it would fulfill the possibly tainted view, it would utterly undermine the intent of removing the woman’s voice.

    My wife and I have been married for over 29 years. She is what I happily call my “failsafe”. I don’t do something that may cause harm, unless SHE suggests it is acceptable. The greater harm, the more clear HER input is.

    Indeed, perhaps a film of OUR life would be in order, in the “haram” society, with our mutual consideration of things or worth, honor and value.

  19. Carol, to ME, *ANY* video of a family video is of the ENTIRE family (children ARE family, not adornments), having a daily event, a meal, a discussion, a talk (more one sided, with Q&A after (for US, during as well)).
    Prayer was special to us, we EACH had our own way of finding that which is special, as espoused by both my wife and I.
    I the HOME, we’re partners. Outside, it is relative and variable. In some contexts, she was the outsider and not very relevant, in others, *I* was the outsider and MY input was not very relevant.
    For the latter, I’ve not been irrelevant, as I can exchange household tips and recipes with the best of them (I’ll get around to posting my lentil soup recipe, tomato sauce recipe and lamb stew recipe in time, time has been rather annoyingly sparce recently, due to a family medical emergency).

    I suspect my view and Arabian views are similar due to my Sicilian heritage, as Sicily was occupied by Arabs for QUITE some time.
    Indeed, I understood the blessing of a child, when viewed, in CONTEXT, that of avoiding the “evil eye”.
    A view that I did NOT consider as valid until I deployed to the region, upon which, when my wife joined me and we perused the mall, I suddenly was forced to reconsider.
    We’ll suffice it to say, I’m a believer and also something other, as I managed to avoid it by “knowing myself and reesatblishing myself”. Something of which was met by both rejoicing and fear in the local populace, when the topic arose.
    But, absurd, but true…

  20. @wzrd1,
    You mentioned that incident in the mall before , when you became weak and then was able to balance your energies. Can you tell us a little bit more about that, and just what exactly you did to restore yourself? Was it a form of Reiki, or other energy healing? I’m interested to hear more.

  21. Kristine, I can’t really explain it well. I know myself, my body (I’ve done quite a bit of biofeedback over the years) and my SELF.
    I simply retreated to my “core” and reestablished my normal patterns in increments over several minutes.
    What it felt like was as if my autonomic nervous system suddenly had control flipped randomly. Pulse was through the roof, blood pressure felt through the roof, respiration was slowed, stomach and intestines were paralyzed and I was diapheretic and pale. Balance was pretty well gone as well.
    So, I withdrew inside, shielded myself and reestablished my normal patterns, with emphasis on reestablishing control of my autonomic nervous system. I *DID* feel who it came from, though I felt no intent, only had noticed a brief envious look at myself and my wife. Then, bam! Then, the woman hurried her friends away with a rather sheepish look.
    When I recovered, she was glancing back and I smiled at her and nodded to her that it was OK.
    Accidents happen…

  22. Alternatives? Let’s see, film a divorced Saudi dad with his children? Do these guys exist as fullly involved parents in child-raising?

    Have women in them, who are willing to be filmed for a good treatment of subject..but with a qualifier that a film without presence of women means humankind cannot exist at all.

  23. Wow, that sounds really frightening. If this had happened to another person, do you think it would have been fatal? What did you do, sit on a bench, or lie down? Were people gathered around you? What was your wife doing throughout this? Also, why do you think that negative energy hit you and not your wife?

  24. Wzrd1:

    Veeeeeerrrrrrrrry Interesting.

  25. Kristine, I am not certain, it may well be fatal to some. I sat on a bench for about a minute, until I was OK again. No crowd present, indeed, most didn’t notice anything amiss.
    My wife was with me and was quite worried about me.
    I suspect it was a bit of simple envy over my wife and I interacting so freely, as apparently long married couple, yet smiling and joking comfortably with each other. I suspect it was a wish to find a similar marriage.

    There are more things on heaven and Earth, bigstick, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

  26. so you are talking about the evil eye attacking you?

  27. Yes, Susanne430. Something, that until that day, I did not believe in.
    Since, I DO believe in it.

  28. wzrd1:

    Have you thought about having your blood pressure checked? It could have been a TIA as well, a mini stroke. You really need to look into some medical issues that might have caused this. I had a co-worker who had similar symptoms and it turned out to be a mini stroke. It should be noted that if you don’t go to the doctor immediately it is hard for them to determine whether the incident was a mini stroke or not. However you might have PAD or another issue that could affect you in this manner. Seriously have a good medical work up to rule out heart issues, stroke factors, or other not so obvious issues. Maybe you were dehydrated? I would explore this before assuming, “THE EVIL EYE.”

    Next, it could be that you are obsessed with the notion of evil eye and have some unconcious desire to implement as a means to have an unknown force to placate your dueling need to have a force beyond/higher power or whatever you want to call it. If this is the case then by all means explore the Agnostic or Deist path.

  29. Not hardly, bigstick. I had a full, comprehensive work-up. I have hypertension, but it’s managed effectively through medication. Heart is clean, one artery has 10% restriction at one point, the rest is clean.
    Carotid arteries are clear.
    I was quite well hydrated at the time and was acclimatized for quite some time.
    I’m a retired SF medic, I know quite a bit about medicine. So, I was left with some stories my Sicilian grandmother told, which I never believed in at all, nor had the inclinition to do so.
    But, lacking any other possible explanation, that was the ONLY explanation I could arrive at, as implausible as it may sound.
    I don’t know about obsessed though, that was the only thing that made sense of what happened.
    Just because one does not understand the cause of a phenomenon does not mean it does not exist. One accepts the lack of known explanation and simply awaits science to explain it.
    Do you reject the phenomenon of earthquake lights, which were denied by science for generations, until photographs proved their existence? Do you reject the now well photographed sprites, elves and jets above thunderstorms, even IF there is no consensus yet on their cause?
    There are many, many things that the cause is currently unknown.
    Who knows what the future may bring, when science finally DOES get more of the answers about our universe?

  30. I have always scoffed at “the evil eye” per se, but more because of what I picture: an actual eye that looks menacing. And maybe some of the things people do or say in order to keep it from attacking them.

    That said, I do believe in a spirit world so if that’s what is meant by the evil eye, then that makes more sense.

    I still don’t believe in lucky charms to protect myself from spirits although I’m sure some here would say that’s exactly what I believe in when I say I believe in the power of prayer and God.

    Thanks for sharing your story. That was interesting and I’m glad you made it out OK.

  31. Wzrd: Just because a cause is not known does not mean that some natural explainable law doesn’t exist. The unknown does not mean the supernatural. All it means is that we are still in our infancy of learning and exploration to which an answer exists we just don’t know that answer.

  32. In that, bigstick, I cannot agree more. However, for those lacking knowledge of the scientific explaniation of even our current technology, it would be an example of the supernatural, even though the truth is far more mundane.
    So, what is supernatural and what is part of nature that is currently not defined?
    When the slit experiment with light is performed, one sees the photons interfering with each other.
    When a SINGLE photon is sent through one slit, it is interfered with. Is that supernatural? In a way, it could be interpreted as such. In fact, one must take into account many, many other factors that are only theory.
    Is it a virtual particle interfering with the single photon? A photon from a parallel universe? Both have been presented as possible explanations.
    In short, there are all manner of things we observe, but cannot yet explain.

  33. A family unit is: husband, wife, children and extended family if they are to be included. But the immediate family is: husband, wife and children. So, a movie, documentary, short video with NO woman is NOTHING more than a male observation dialogue.

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