Cross-dressing women raise eyebrows

Arab News: Social media websites have published several videos of masked Saudi girls moving about in men’s attire. The clips showed uncovered women dressed like men attending a wedding, entering stadiums to watch games, or simply walking down the streets in an attempt to break social norms.
A large number of Saudis have criticized their actions, which they feared could be copied by a large number of girls who love adventure and rebellion, and who might now try to imitate men to access certain places at certain times.
Mansour Al-Askar, sociology professor at King Saud University, said that the reason for this phenomenon is due to women’s marginalization in the family, which makes her want to try the life of a man and put herself “in his shoes” in order to obtain some freedom.
“Family conditions and the marginalization of girls may be the most important reason behind such actions,” he explained.
He stressed the importance of the role of universities and schools in promoting good values, and to help girls and boys stay away from negative things that affect the community and which are considered “red lines”, such as impersonations of the opposite gender.
Al-Askar said that the most important reason behind this trend was the problem of the male hormone which caused women and girls to feel as though they didn’t have the freedom to do what they pleased, meaning they might feel the need to dress up as men to obtain power or to do basic tasks that they were otherwise forbidden from doing.
Al-Askar said the treatment for these problems must come from within the family and the community, and should also involve media awareness, stressing the role of the family in educating children and guiding them to deter them from such behavior.
“On the other hand, we have also seen men imitating women in YouTube videos, which stems from abnormal behavior tendencies,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ahmad Al-Mobei said that he believes that a woman’s “place” is in her house. “Women who dress in this way should be punished by the judiciary, which should not remain silent on such acts which are encouraged by TV and modern means of communication.”
He said that the family should assume its proper role in raising the new generation, and added that this required that the educational institutions paid attention to this openness which came from the West to the Islamic world.
“We should prepare to face these exotic ideas in our society,” he argued.
He also said that such cases require the family’s focus on integration and stability, and stressed the importance of observing religion, morality and discharging social responsibility in the face of such acts.

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