Victimizing is rampant, but many people who have the ‘victim’ label thrust upon them by the media and by those listening to the media don’t want that label forced upon them. Such is the case for many women in Saudi Arabia.
In March of 2016, BBC Trending ran this article and video story on Saudi women, asking if they were really oppressed. The answer? Well, it’s more complicated than a black-and-white definition of what oppression really means. This is the case in the majority of these situations. The short three-minute video is a good watch. Though short, it has a powerful reminder that as people who don’t understand the culture, who don’t live in it, and have a limited perspective of it, we don’t want to fall into believing stereotypes that get thrown around in the wind. Like always we have to make sure we do our research before spouting off our own opinions on the matter. We also have to remember that our opinions on the situation don’t matter — the facts do. Well, then, what are the facts?
First of all according to the aforementioned video many women in Saudi Arabia will tell you that they haven’t felt oppressed. The women interviewed made that statment. Who are we to say who is and who is not oppressed? We don’t have that right to put a label onto another person. If they want to put a label onto themselves, that is their right if they do choose, not ours. And according to the video run by BBC News, contrary to what you may believe, more women graduate from universities than men do in Saudi Arabia and women can work and do work.
Different sources and different women are of course going to tell you different things, but as a whole, these women seem like they do not want to be victimized. They do have problems related to sexism; it’s true. However, when people throw labels or stereotypes out as they talk about these situations, these women say that it makes it harder for them to fight and to speak up about what they want out of change by labeling them as ‘victims’. Think about it… If you’re in a situation with someone where you have the disadvantage, does it help if you’re labelled the victim? No, it wouldn’t. You don’t want to be painted as weaker when you are fighting with everything you have for what you believe in, right? It’s the same thing here.
Like everything the situations in Saudi Arabia are complicated and we don’t want to minimize them by throwing easy labels onto them. They aren’t easy to deal with and fight against and they’re not as simple as we may tend to think.
So the lesson really is to always do your research on complicated situations like this one and know that labeling people doesn’t help anyone.