Are Saudi men oppressed? Twitter wonders.

Published August 11th, 2016 - 12:09 GMT
A beach in Al-Qurayysah, Saudi Arabia
A beach in Al-Qurayysah, Saudi Arabia

The hashtag “Is the Saudi man oppressed?” trended on the social networking website Twitter yesterday, matched in popularity only by the variety of responses it received. The discussion started when Twitter user @i2sHws shared the tag and asked for men to share their worries with one another.

In a country like Saudi Arabia where it is illegal for women to drive and the woman enjoys significantly fewer rights than their male counterparts, many women reacted harshly to the idea that a male Saudi could see himself as “oppressed”:

"A Saudi guy should be the last person to talk about being oppressed."


Even men chipped in on the topic:

"The Saudi oppresses himself, always sitting about criticizing the world but doesn’t care to develop himself - he just wants to get rich while he’s sleeping."


In Saudi Arabia, numerous institutions exist to support physical activity among youth… male youth. Women are largely discouraged from practicing sports, as one user commented:

"Aww you poor things! There’s no Ministry for supporting sports for men and no playgrounds or sports clubs… And they’re always telling them “do your sports at home!”"

"You poor things! When a Saudi turns 18 he doesn’t get a car and can’t even drive cars, and everything is forbidden unless a female allows and supports it."

Some people rode the line a little bit:

They’re a little oppressed… But of course there is no way to even compare that to the oppression that women experience.

Others commented on social issues that men face in Saudi society, specifically economic issues that prevent growth and development.

"Economically: Unemployment and the preference of foreigners in the workplace.

Socially: An absence of ways for one to entertain himself and put his energies where they’re needed."


Another issue that users mentioned was the inflating price of marriage in Saudi Arabia, where a man is expected to pay both his wife’s dowry and the entire cost of the wedding.

He sits around collecting 300 thousand riyals until he’s 30 so he can get married. If he gets married before then he’s so in debt that he’ll spend the rest of his life in misery… How isn’t he oppressed?

"70% of Saudi men own neither land nor a house. That’s enough to show that they’re oppressed, most of the tweets against the idea are from foreigners who are scared for the jobs made for Saudi’s that they’re working in."

Saudi Arabia has found itself in less solid economic footing than previous years given the low price of oil and global financial woes. Despite the difficulties, Saudi Arabia is working towards its “2030 vision” to reinvent itself in the next 15 years, though it remains to be seen how this will affect social issues in the Kingdom, specifically in regards to the right of women to drive and gender mixing.


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