• I'm a 20 something college student in Riyadh, I'm fairly liberal in my views being non religious, pro-gay, and strong minded "for a woman".

  • I know what sexism is, I live it. I have to take the back door almost everywhere I go because usually front doors are for men.

  • I need to cover up every time I leave the house wearing a black abaya (Harry Potter wizard cloak thing) and cover my hair. If I don't cover my hair I might be verbally harassed in public by the religious police or even get arrested if I retaliate and let the situation escalate.

  • Illegal to drive my own car, no public transportation available either. So, I either use the house driver (not very prestigious, it's a necessity in every home) or take a taxi.

  • I need my male guardian's permission to travel, get an education (part of the application for college is including his consent), get a job, get surgery, as long as I live in this country. I'm basically legally a minor for life.

  • Yea.. It's not a great place to be a woman in. I'll be submitting proof to the mods. AMA!

Edit: It's been great answering all of your questions and thanks for taking an interest. Goodnight!

Comments: 1068 • Responses: 89  • Date: 

indomiechef158 karma

Hey tequila, I'm a saudi guy, I wish you the best, your bravery and open mindedness gives hope in the midst of all wrong things happening here. My question : one of the obstacles that I can't really overcome when I try to express my thoughts in here, is not to harm or anger my family, especially my mother, what about you?

tequilamockinburd182 karma

I don't share thoughts and/or opinions at all with my family. Learned that the hard way. I don't care what they think of them, but I do care about their reactions towards them and the measures they might take in order to "fix" me.

Ihamitsu115 karma

Hi, thanks for doing this AMA. My question is, are you gonna leave your country in the future? I mean, of course home is home and everything, but you seem to be educated, with good english and very dangerous opinions to have in that part of world... So if there were a possibility to just leave, would you take it, even that means problems with family, visiting your country, etc?

tequilamockinburd198 karma

Yes, I plan on leaving as soon as I'm done with my college education. Problems with my family? Everything has a price, and securing myself a safe life in a country that protects me as a human by law has a price too. My family would probably not be ok with it the first few months or even years, but they love me and they'll learn to live with it.

Ihamitsu64 karma

Where did you come to this... lets say modern opinions. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to get some independent info in you country about basicaly everything, also have you experienced any problems yet, because of your opinions?

tequilamockinburd152 karma

It's not hard to find books. I love reading, and my parents have always encouraged that about me. You read books, you get curious, you google stuff, you eventually form an opinion. All sources of knowledge are available, it's almost impossible to censor anything this day and age.

And I have experienced some problems due to my expression of opinions. Been called bad names, been treated in a not so pleasant manner, but that just taught me to censor myself more when I'm around family and conservative friends.

Ihamitsu48 karma

Pardon me madam, Im from central Europe and I recently came back from bussiness trip to China... You would be suprised how much you can still censor, even today :) I couldnt even reach my email from there... Facebook, youtube, some Wiki pages are banned and even Google wont show all asnwers. So I thougt that your goverment uses the same methods... Im just happy for you, that I was wrong ;)

tequilamockinburd118 karma

Internet is censored but it's easy to bypass the block using any proxy or programs like Hotspot Shield. I suppose we're better off than china in that aspect. :)

daedalus11440 karma

I love that you are curious and thirst for knowledge! One thing that I have always wondered; why doesn't everybody?

In your country, would you say most women share your feelings? Do most women around you feel oppressed, or is your life considered normal and acceptable? Looking at your world from the outside, it seems to me like people with few personal freedoms like you have described must not know there is freedom to be had in other parts of the world. Otherwise, why wouldn't everyone want these liberties like you do?

tequilamockinburd47 karma

A lot of women feel oppressed and are unhappy with the way things are, but they accept it because that's how things are, they can't change them.

GreyMatter2248 karma

Even in the Muslim World, Saudi Arabia is known for being ultra-radical for their Salafist ideologies, and being blatantly intolerant against Shia Muslims along with Christians and even non-Arabs migrants..

1) Is this notion really widespread in Saudi Arabia?

2) What is your opinion?

Also is feminism a growing phenomenon among the youth of Saudi Arabia today?

tequilamockinburd53 karma

It is a widespread notion in Saudi, unfortunately.

I don't agree with it at all.

Feminism is a growing phenomenon.

boogerslut79 karma

I heard about this on YAHOO NEWS

tequilamockinburd213 karma

Oh, fuck.

Machismo183 karma

Just look through you post history and delete any information that might identify you. Edit your responses to be more vague when possible. Make sure you don't use the same user name as other places. If Anon can figure out who you are, then a crazy-dude with a thing against free women can find you.

Be safe.

tequilamockinburd38 karma

Who's Anon and when was I identified?

Goyu33 karma

Anon = anonymous. Yahoo often posts searched results based on a user's past interests, this doesn't mean you've been identified, just that... ahem.... boogerslut's yahoo tends to show him AMA/reddit related content.

tequilamockinburd27 karma

ahh, phew!

lottesometimes71 karma

I find you incredibly brave and am happy to see that there are those like you who don't just give into an existing system. What's your timeframe for Leaving the country (roughly) and is there a way how we can support you? PM if you don't want that info out in public.

tequilamockinburd78 karma

probably 2-3 more years. There are a lot of factors that might change that. :) If I needed any support, I'll let you know. Thanks <3

Sakirexa66 karma

What are your feelings on Islam and Islamic law?

What is the best thing about Saudi Arabia?

If you were able to implement any ONE change in the governing of your country, what would it be and why?

tequilamockinburd190 karma

Islam as a religion, in its most basic form, endorses a lot things that I agree with. Like, social justice, no racism, etc. But Islamic law, and this is my personal opinion, is Islam politicized. Most of the laws aren't in Quran, and the hadeeth they have been inferred from are hard to verify.

Best thing about Saudi, the cheap life style, the dry weather (no Monica-in-Barbados hair), and the scholarship programs that send students abroad.

One change I'd implement is making Saudi a constitutional democratic state, not a monarchy. (Saudi doesn't have a constitution, because as the king always says "Quran is our constitution")

toouglyforretail60 karma

Hey, thanks for doing the AMA! I had the chance to visit Saudi Arabia a couple of years ago and met some wonderful people, many of whom shared your desire for equality. It seemed at the time there were several positive indications for improved women's rights: the right to vote and run for municipal office, increasing female enrollment in higher education (IIRC, one of the co-ed colleges we visited was over 50% female), and increased political pressure to change driving laws. Are these changes still occurring and if so, do you think they're part of a larger movement for full inclusion?

Also, one thing I heard a lot was that while people were ready for change, they were also hesitant to change so quickly that it would cause a political backlash from conservative elements in the country. This was probably heightened due to the beginning of the Arab Spring and uprising in Bahrain, but it seemed to me to be a genuine concern. Is this the general opinion nationally? If so, do most people feel the king is doing a good job balancing the two camps while moving toward greater equality?

Thanks again for doing this AMA! If you're ever in the States, let me know; I'd love to return the kindness your country showed me.

tequilamockinburd108 karma

I don't think the changes they're making now in regards to women rights have that much of an effect on the average woman. Women have entered the Shura council, they're now allowed to work in retail, they're allowed to be cashiers in supermarkets, they have the right to get a national ID card, tiny things. That doesn't really change the fact that I have to have a driver to take me to college, or the fact that I can't leave campus before 12pm unless my guardian picks me up, or that I needed his permission in the first place to enroll.

I don't care about the big flashy changes they make to better their image worldwide. Those are just theatrics.

To answer your second question, I don't think it's the general opinion nationally. I think the general national opinion is to agree with the conservative scholars, and stick to tradition.

Do people think the king is doing a good job? I think he's pretty popular and well liked.

inNeedOfInspiration11 karma

do you think there is something liberal people in saudi arabia (like yourself) can do to change the situation for the better? are liberals represented politically (I don't know anything about your political system), could you openly disobey laws to get attention or would this just backfire? Also, would it be a good idea for foreign countries and companies to try to influence the people in power to change or would this just be seen as an arrogant/unwanted/wrong influence? I'm wondering about these things because doing nothing doesn't seem to be an option if you want change.

tequilamockinburd61 karma

Political parties are illegal, so no one is represented politically except for the current gov.

It would backfire if I try to disobey laws publicly, Manal AlShareef was detained for ten days for driving.

I do want change, but for myself. I'm not interested in fixing the world, I just want to get a better life.

tchemie52 karma

From my university experience, most of the saudis who go abroad to study enjoy the western lifestyle (booze, clubbing, etc). I even asked one of the saudis about this and he basically replied "because I can only enjoy myself here, i can't do the same things back in saudi arabia." So my question is why isn't there more of an opposition when most young saudis have experienced western culture, western lifestyle, and freedoms that comes along with it? Why are most saudis just content with being relegated to an oppressive system when they get home?

tequilamockinburd77 karma

It's not easy to stand up to a system alone. Plus, Saudi culture isn't one that supports individuality. Stating an opinion that's against the status quo is life threatening.

That being said, change is happening relatively fast and gradually. Riyadh 10 years ago isn't like riyadh today. A lot has changed, regarding what's ok and what's not culturally. More than half of the population is younger than 25 years, a lot is going to change when they take over in a few decaes.

tchemie25 karma

I understand, what kind of changes do you predict in the next 10 years?

tequilamockinburd58 karma

women driving, and more freedoms for them. Better education.

occupyredrobin49 karma

How much access to foreign culture do you get (besides reddit, obviously)? Ever read Maya Angelou?

Still I Rise-

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don't you take it awful hard

'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines

Diggin' in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I've got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame

I rise

Up from a past that's rooted in pain

I rise

I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

  • See more at:

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15623#sthash.NZfpGJup.dpuf

tequilamockinburd64 karma

That's actually one of my favorite poems by Maya Angelou <3

Ecthelion_of_Gondor46 karma

what is your opinion on the State of Israel? Do you think that it has the right to exist?

tequilamockinburd100 karma

No, I don't. Just because they have a book that says this land is "rightfully" theirs, doesn't mean they get to kill innocent people for 60 years to attain that.

Yserbius77 karma

Are you aware of the political aspects of Israel and the nuances in conflict? What do you feel should be done with the millions of Jews who were born and raised there, some 3 or 4th generation Israeli?

I find that your misconception is probably the most common when it comes to criticism of Israel. The idea that the land is rightfully theirs due to the Bible is only a concept in the minds of some of the more right wing religious Israelis. Israel was (surprise!) originally started with the intent to be an Atheist haven. The Zionist ideal was to push out religion in favor of a Jewish State, where "Jewish" can be redefined to mean "part of the secular Jewish nation". The Zionist right to the land is not based on religion, nor has it ever been claimed to be by anyone in authority. It has to do with the change in political landscape following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the search for a home for post-war Jewish refugees.

That being said, I'm not at all surprised that you feel that way. Israel is often criticized which is fine. But people like to take it a step further and completely demonize them, which is unfair and cruel. One of the easiest ways to do that is to claim that Israel is a bunch of religious fanatics, claiming the land in the name of religion. The fact that Israel has one of the largest per capita Atheist populations in the world, and is one of the most liberal countries in terms of civil rights, is a fact often left out of these sort of false critiques.

tequilamockinburd85 karma

I'm sorry, I was probably wrong about what israel is all about. I'm not an expert on the matter. Again, I'm no expert so I can't really answer your question.

Tezpaloca65 karma

As an Israeli i just want to say im not suprised. You need to remember that just like all the things you were told, they were all told in a 1 sided manner and Israel is no different. Your opinion is fine to have, but just like most things in life it is best to know both sides of any story and then make a more informed decision.

tequilamockinburd174 karma

You're absolutely right. I need to have a more informed opinion and look into the matter better.

Spagster43 karma

This might be a little bit awkward so I apologize in advance. I know you live in an incredibly conservative culture, and it's quite obvious about what the outward and public perception/laws are against it, but in private is there a lot of 'illicit' sexual activity going on? For instance, in a lot of parts of the world, if a woman wants to have sex with a man that she just met she's able to do that (whether one agrees with those morals or not). Are there a lot of private 'connections' happening outside of marriage? I have to imagine that the male oppressors in your culture only follow rules regarding sexual contact when it's convenient for them. I've always been curious about how that works over there.

Stay safe, stay strong, and I hope you're able to get out of that place soon.

tequilamockinburd94 karma

Hahahahah the only way I can answer your question is by using my own personal experience, ok? So, this isn't to be considered accurate at all.

Since the two sexes are segregated almost everywhere , there aren't many places to just socialize with the opposite sex. So, a lot turn to the internet to meet new poeple, and chat with them safely. If those two were to meet, they wouldn't want to do it in a public place. Being in a restaurant with a guy is asking the religious police to come arrest me. Some restaurants are known to be seldom visited by the religious police, so those can be dating spots.

Getting a hotel room isn't allowed for women, and if the guy tries to get one he isn't allowed female visitors unless he presents the reception desk with a family card (an ID for your family basically) that proves that woman is his sister/wife/mother/whatever. If he doesn't do that and the hotel people get suspicious, they can report him to the religious police and he and his gf can get severe punishments.

Culturally, sex before marriage is a HUGE taboo. Men practice it in secret, maybe abroad when they're on vacation or with foreign women. Women tend to want to save their virginities, so anal sex is pretty common. This isn't to say that everyone does this, but I'm just saying a lot of people I know do this in the most secret way possible. I don't, though lol.

pchandler4557 karma

I am an American woman who lived in Jordan for 3 years. I lived and worked in Wadi Rum. We had a lot of Saudi men come over thru the desert to try to hook up with tourist women, and to drink alcohol. It was definitely an eye-opening experience for me. What really irked me is how these guys would look for "western" women to sleep with and thats Ok, but g-d forbid his wife/sister looked another man in the eyes. I don't get how the familys honor is tied to only the women.

tequilamockinburd99 karma

Family honor is tied to the female hymen to be specific.

Azerco8 karma

That sounds like a miserable way of having to live your life.

I understand that same-sex relationships are hugely popular on the QT in KSA for that reason. Being gay can get you killed, but people have needs...

tequilamockinburd44 karma

With great segregation comes great homosexuality.

or homosexual behaviors to be accurate

derexan37 karma

Would you ever marry a foreign man? How would your family react?

Do you think the Saudi Royal family is secretly more progressive than we are led to believe?

tequilamockinburd100 karma

My family won't react well if I ever decide to commit such a horrible social crime, marriage is more complicated here. It's not even about nationality or religion, it's about tribes and origins and hometowns. Family names that descend from tribes don't marry unless the other family comes from a tribe as well, some tribes don't marry from other tribes at all, and if a family doesn't descend from a tribe they're most likely looked down upon by tribal families who would never marry from them. As long as I'm in Saudi, I stil need my father's permission to marry. He wouldn't give his permission if he doesn't approve.

Personally, I don't care about any of that. Once I'm out, why would I still care for arbitrary laws like that?

Bay1Bri35 karma

What do you study in college? Do you date, or is it too risky?

tequilamockinburd106 karma

I'm studying something in the medical field.

Dating is too risky. You can go to jail for it, get lashed, sometimes worse. I don't date.

showmethestudy12 karma

So is there any pre-marital sex? Are kids there "doing it" despite everyone's attempts to prevent it and just no one knows or is that really uncommon? Because here in the States, it's very common. Few people are virgins when they get married.

tequilamockinburd19 karma

It's common among boys more than girls. Girls tend to be more conservative because the consequences are harsher for them.

ohhaither19 karma

[deleted]

tequilamockinburd42 karma

... yup

rusty____shackleford30 karma

I'm Jewish, and I have no malcontent for Muslims. I realize that there is a minority of Muslims who garner a lot of attention due to their hatred for Jews and Westerners in general, but that the majority of Muslims/Arabs are simply regular, good, peaceful people. Do the ordinary people in Saudi Arabia look at Jews in the same way, know we don't want violence with Arabs and that unfortunately a zealous minority causes a lot of issues. Or is there a general sense of contempt for Jews and Israel?

tequilamockinburd60 karma

I cannot speak for the majority of Arabs or Muslims, but I can say that there's a good percentage that differentiates between zionism and Judaism. I've never met anyone who hated a jewish person just because they're jewish, and I've lived in Riyadh all my life.

ichegoya35 karma

Do you hear Jewish people (or Christians) referred to as 'people of the book'?

tequilamockinburd43 karma

Yes

arjuna00730 karma

if you could change anything in Saudi Arabia what would it be?

tequilamockinburd134 karma

I think the question should be, if I can keep anything about Saudi what would it be, because I'd change everything. Even its name. I'm not part of the AlSaud family, so why do I have to call myself "Saudi"?

L0BST3R28 karma

Do you have friends who are like minded? Are you all together looking forward to leaving the country? Are there any fellow liberal Saudi women you know who do not have the same ability to leave their families and thus will stay/marry a man of their fathers choosing?

What I mean to say is, are you an outlier having the means and courage to leave the country or do you have friends who hope to do just the same?

tequilamockinburd113 karma

I have friends who share my views, yes. They want to eventually leave too, yes. It's just how my friends and I decided to deal with the injustice we're facing being women here. I'll add that only three of my friends are seriously considering migration.

It doesn't take courage to go abroad and never come back, I'm taking the easy way out. I'm not fighting for my rights, I'm not publicly demanding reform jeopardizing my safety in the process. I basically said "If I can't get my rights here, I'll get them elsewhere. Until then, I'll just finish my bachelor's quietly".

PositiveMouse27 karma

Do you find the men are as sexually repressed as the women? I have heard that men sometimes go vacationing to whorehouses to get it all out of their systems. I oftentimes see men from the UAE racing cars, crashing them, and performing extremely dangerous stunts with little regard for their life- do you attribute this to sexual repression? Lastly, have you ever had a case where two friends/people you knew engaged in sexual acts but were caught? What was the response?

Thanks!

tequilamockinburd74 karma

Are the Saudi people sexually oppressed? Fuck yes.

Are the stunts pulled by Emirati men the result from sexual oppression? I don't know, I'm not a psychologist.

I know people who were caught, the guy is arrested, the girl is sent home for her family to deal with her. If the guy has a good name and knows somebody, he gets off the hook easily. Girl doesn't. Girls I know got beaten violently then monitored closely until they're forced into marriage.

Battle4Seattle27 karma

Given the characteristics of life for women in Saudi Arabia that you described in your introduction, would it be fair to say you're living in a "Gender Apartheid" society?

tequilamockinburd37 karma

Basically, yes.

Mintilina26 karma

What do you think is(/are) the biggest misconception(s) that foreigners have about Saudi Arabia?

tequilamockinburd132 karma

I never crossed the atlantic, so I wouldn't know. And answering your question would be my misconceptions about American misconceptions about Saudi.

seasick7721 karma

Lots of questions. Sorry.

Since you're a neighbor of Iraq, what was the overall perception of the United States involvement in Iraq? What did you think of Saddam Hussein? Also, what do you think of Iraq now? Does it seem like the change helped or hurt the region?

With the "Arab Spring" that happened in the region, is there any momentum gaining in Saudi Arabia towards some sort of democratically elected government?

How does the population feel about the criticisms of the Saudi criminal justice system? Like punishing people with beheadings and stonings.

tequilamockinburd65 karma

I think the US invaded Iraq, fucked with it for a decade, then was like "ok, I think we're done here" and left a crappy government to take over. Saddam Hussein was a dictator, not a cool guy, and if he was living today his people would probably overthrow him a la Gaddafi. The change definitely did not help the region, I am not a political analyst though, so I'm not the best person to answer that question.

I wouldn't say that there's momentum gaining in Saudi, but the Arab Spring did expedite a lot of reform that the government had set aside for the future. A lot of things loosened up in Saudi, and I think the Arab Spring had a hand in that.

The general population's opinion on the Saudi justice system is definitely not a positive one. Some still support beheadings and stonings because they believe it's what Islam dictates. Others don't. I don't have any statistics on that, so I can't really answer you accurately.

Chazwozel21 karma

What's the Saudi view on America really like? Do people hate America as much as our press leads us to believe?

tequilamockinburd68 karma

I'm not sure who hates America over here. We love your movies & shows, your junk food, your social media websites, and the whole consumerism culture. The government likes you guys a lot lol.

Only people who hate Americans are religious fanatics, who use the term infidel to describe anyone who isn't muslim. And sadly, they're influential, so many mainstream media and public personalities have to hide it to not get criticized by these groups.

gummy_21 karma

What are your parents' politics like and how do they feel about yours? Do they support you?

Thanks for doing this AMA!

tequilamockinburd62 karma

They're very conservative. They think I'm influenced by american movies when I talk about women rights, and that I'm reading for deluded authors when I ask existential questions or just stuff about validity of religion (my dad calls it 'intellectual pollution'). They don't support my opinions, they believe it's a phase hah.

Prodigal_Daughter30 karma

Do you think your father will give you permission to leave the country?

tequilamockinburd42 karma

Yes

Prodigal_Daughter21 karma

If they're really conservative and don't like your intellectual pollution, why are you certain? (you know him better than I do; just curious)

tequilamockinburd42 karma

We talked about it.

DHaze17 karma

Its very interesting to me that your father will discuss your leaving the country while also having you beaten (or beating you?) for leaving the house without permission. Would that punishment be more for putting yourself at risk by doing so or because he really doesn't think women should be allowed to leave the house alone?

tequilamockinburd30 karma

No, it's because I defied him.

Lord_Osis_B_Havior27 karma

Do you have any fear of any kind of "honor killing" violence against you for your uppitiness?

tequilamockinburd65 karma

Honor killing? No. Violence committed against me? Yes.

mallamange13 karma

Violence committed against me?

Could you please elaborate on this ?

thank you

tequilamockinburd60 karma

I have been beaten before for leaving the house without permission, as an adult. That sort of thing.

redfeather19 karma

Beaten by who, the morality police or your father??

tequilamockinburd16 karma

neither. It was a family member.

davokenobi19 karma

You said your parents encourage you to read and you have had college education. Since culture and knowledge are the main vehicle to emancipation I see a conflict between Saudi parents educating their children and at the same time being so strict on tradition. How does it work? Shouldn't your father be scared about allowing you to get an education if the result is clearly becoming emancipated?

tequilamockinburd48 karma

Well, it is complicated. This is what happens to a society when it's forced to be modernized in less than a century. Creates a looott of contradictions.

Emancipation in a legal sense isn't an option in here, so my father still has authority over me regardless of how high my education is or how old I get.

davokenobi22 karma

well, best of luck, keep studying and just run whenever you can. in general there are no perfect countries, but discovery is always priceless, you can only gain.

tequilamockinburd20 karma

Thanks :)

jennifer198517 karma

I am a liberal brazilian girl who have been all over the world and is currently living in Europe I couldnt imagine myself living under this conditions, I hope one day you leave and see how wonderful the world is! I mean, you think about escaping don't you? hehe

tequilamockinburd41 karma

Everyone thinks about escaping their reality lol

PounderMcNasty16 karma

Where would you like to live?

tequilamockinburd104 karma

Somewhere where I can wear a sundress on a hot day. :)

PounderMcNasty37 karma

America?

Edit: Fuck yeah....AMERICA #1!!!

tequilamockinburd52 karma

Hahaha America is a very strong candidate

properengleesh15 karma

Hi Tequila! I am glad to have happened up your AMA. part of my work is sending people to the KSA (expats from around the world) including their families and I am astounded by two things -

  1. That people that start to live there actually enjoy your country and feel safe while there.
  2. The overall discontent towards women by what I feel is a very small minority of your countrymen. Most that I have met (in business) seem to be fairly ok with their wives and daughters living a western lifestyle.

My wonder is more of why more of these men dont take a stand against the radical few, such as that wondrous Billionare whose name slips me. Is the Muktaz (not sure I spelled it right) an autonomous group of the government or sponsored by them.(or are they just tolerated)?

I have heard stories of this religious enforcers crushing women cell phones, accosting a women for walking from work alone, calling her a prostitute and trying to solicit her.

The King seems to be a solid guy in many regards, and I guess I am wondering if things will change if the Gaurds change.

Thank you for being courageous and answering our ??'s

tequilamockinburd40 karma

The stories that you've mentioned probably happened more than 10 years ago. When camera phones first started coming out, they were ruled forbidden by a fatwa from the committee of senior scholars, and that meant them being illegal on college campuses and any all-woman areas of that sort. They would hold inspections and crush whatever cellphones they find in front of the other students to make an example out of them. This doesn't happen anymore. I use my iPhone freely on campus and no one tells me anything.

The men you're talking about who allow their wives and daughters to live as they want are a small percentage. They don't represent the majority of the population at all.

As for western families feeling safe here, I don't see why wouldn't they. They're protected well by the government, most cultural laws don't apply on them, and unless their jobs require it they don't socialize with saudis at all. You won't find an American man being questioned by the religious police about the woman he's accompanying, whether she's his wife or not.

Tee-Chou14 karma

so could a foreign woman drive in your country?

tequilamockinburd15 karma

no

Henrywinklered4 karma

What if the woman is Saudi?

tequilamockinburd13 karma

They normally wouldn't approach a white man at all, but they can cause trouble if she turns out to be Saudi.

bk20314 karma

Are you allowed to buy airline tickets and travel abroad on your own?

tequilamockinburd25 karma

I'm allowed to buy them, but I can't leave the country without permission. I get stopped at the airport if I didn't have it.

gkiltz14 karma

Do you dress modern, or are you stuck with the traditional style? What styles do you like?

tequilamockinburd26 karma

I dress modernly, I guess. I only wore traditional clothing for school events in elementary school.

MyWittyName10 karma

sorry if this has been asked already..but are you going to continue wearing the burka/veil when you leave the country? I assume you will be leaving to a non-Muslim country. I am a middle eastern girl (assyrian) living in the US and my heart goes out to you and the other oppressed women in the Middle East. you're very brave and I wish you the best of luck wherever life takes you..never give up and follow your heart.

Also, what do you call your father? I call mine 'baba' so I was just curious if it's different over there

tequilamockinburd13 karma

No I'm not.

I call him baba, too. :)

invisibo13 karma

When I was a kid living in Dhahran in the 90's, the school bus used to have a bomb check every morning before entering the campus. Have tensions gone up or down over there in comparison?

tequilamockinburd23 karma

there aren't any checks of that sort anymore, but compounds, where foreigners usually live, have military guards and are very strict of letting who in. I don't feel threatened by a bomb at any time, I feel safe from that aspect.

expectopatroname13 karma

Thank you so much for doing this AMA, I confess that I don't know much about Saudi Arabia other than its oppression of women but this AMA has helped me learn a bit more about your country.

My questions:

Did you go to public or private schools growing up? Were they separate for boys and girls? Did they teach science or were they more focused on the Quran?

Do boys your age have these conservative views about women, or are they becoming more open minded?

What is your favorite western movie or television show? (You seem to be a fan of Harry Potter and Friends, some of my favorites as well) edit: How easily accessible is western entertainment and do the freedoms women have that are shown in these tv shows, movies and books have any effect on mindset the general population in Saudi Arabia?

Best of luck from a girl in the States :)

tequilamockinburd26 karma

I went to an all girls private school, all schools are separate. They did teach science, and a lot of religion as well. Saudi curriculums give 4 mandatory islamic subjects a year, along with other normal scientific subjects.

Boys my age vary, it just depends on the person.

I don't have a favorite movie, and my favorite show is House.

i_punt_cunts12 karma

Would you leave your country, if given the opportunity?

tequilamockinburd27 karma

Yes

AthleticTypist12 karma

Hopefully, you're pro interracial marriage/dating as well. I'm black, dated a girl from Saudi and she was disowned from her entire family. No lie. It was worse than her being with a Christian or Jew, although that's not technically allowed either. I just found it odd that the birthplace of Islam and coming from a religion that teaches about the brotherhood and equality of man could harbor such racist views. From what I've been told and have learned, it's a pretty common viewpoint there.

tequilamockinburd21 karma

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. It's bad, and I think I'm living in one of the most racist societies in the world, drenched in -isms.

dhlila11 karma

[deleted]

tequilamockinburd10 karma

Hahahaa no I don't

remlu11 karma

Do you really have to buy bras in stores where men are the only employees?

tequilamockinburd23 karma

No, they changed that! All lingerie stores must have all-female staff now

brunokim10 karma

Do you know about KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology)? A friend studied there and said its kind of a western bubble, without censorship and where women (at least foreigners) can walk and speak freely. Also, its almost isolated from the rest of Saudi Arabia.

How can such contradiction prevail - in a research university for foreigners its okay to be free, but not elsewhere?

tequilamockinburd8 karma

Most Saudi cultural laws only apply to Saudis. No one would care if they see a non-saudi woman not covering her hair, but a Saudi one would turn heads. It's a cultural thing.

mallamange9 karma

Hi Thanx for the AMA. I have a few questions , I will hopefully get them answered.

  1. With some recent changes that have been put in place vis-a-vis womens rights. what is the general mood amongst young women with respect to personal freedom ?
  2. Are some cities better for women than others ? Like Dammam maybe due to the proximity to UAE ? and Mecca, Medina not so liberal for obvious reasons.
  3. I have only had the opportunity to meet relatively wealthy people from Saudi and I have found them to be pretty normal in their general views. But I have heard that there is great economic disparity and unhappy youth , can you give us your opinion about this?
  4. What legal and/or social support does a woman have if she is subjected to abuse by the husband ?

thank you again.

tequilamockinburd14 karma

I find that an awareness is being raised among young saudi women about what their rights are, and their personal freedom.

The same laws are being practiced in all of Saudi, but the local cultures may differ. For example, the west of Saudi is more relaxed than where I live.

There is economic disparity, and the wealth isn't distributed well at all. It's sad that there are people living the life of millionaires and there are others who must live on 2500 Riyals a month.

The justice system fails when it comes to family issues, whether it's domestic violence, child support, child custody, divorce, etc. The woman almost always gets the worse end of the bargain. It all depends on the judge's views, of course, but most judges believe that a husband has a right to "discipline" his wife, and they use the prophet's roughly translated saying (the worst halal [what's allowed] is divorce). So, they tend to tell the woman to be patient because divorce is not what a good wife would ask for. She normally wouldn't get compensated, but it differs from one judge to another.

Just_let_it_be9 karma

[deleted]

tequilamockinburd25 karma

It's easier to finish up here first. I don't think I'll be able to transfer my credit, and I really don't want to start all over somewhere else.

queerthe2nd9 karma

What is your opinion on legalizing marriage for gay couples?

tequilamockinburd15 karma

In Saudi?

VEC7OR9 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA!

I have a rather awkward question - one female friend of mine worked in the UAE, but I guess that is different from Saudi Arabia, and the question is - she views things that you and I consider oppressive as good in a way - she said husbands are being for the most parts protective of their wives and this 'overprotectivness' results in the oppression the outside world sees, how much truth is to that ?

Does this situation differ in different social circles - ladies who live with rich/wealthy husbands live as queens, and in poor families it boils down to 'shut up woman' ?

tequilamockinburd24 karma

It's a matter of point of view, and it differs from one woman to another.

To answer your second question, I wouldn't say rich women live like queens. They're still not treated as equals, but at least they're compensated (in a sense) with money. Poorer women don't get compensated.

TZA6 karma

Have you ever actually had tequila?

tequilamockinburd11 karma

Nooooo neverrrr, it's illegal.

glowmonster6 karma

So it seems you are planning on moving once you graduate. Where are you thinking of going to? The UK and the US are popular, but as a canadian I have to advocate for my country too! What are you studying, are you thinking of building a career?

tequilamockinburd12 karma

Of course, a career is important. I'm studying something medical-related.

almamahlerwerfel5 karma

First off – I think you are amazing. Every day, you struggle with this and the fact that you remain constant in standing up for yourself and remaining progressive and firm in your beliefs despite your environment, I’d like to say congratulations. I’m an American woman and I get annoyed about sexism in liberal New York City – I can’t imagine your daily life, and how frustrating it must be to constantly treated like a combination of a child, slave, and inferior person.

My question is, do you try to engage people in conversation about the role of women in Saudi society? Or is it too dangerous/pointless/frustrating to even try? Are most women content with their place in society, and men pleased with the status quo?

tequilamockinburd8 karma

I don't engage in such conversations because there's no point. I wouldn't say most women are content, and a lot of men aren't pleased with the status quo.

whimaway5 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. It's extremely interesting! What is the public opinion about birth control in Saudi Arabia (not for use for premarital sex of course but for birth spacing or for married women)?

Also I'm just wondering if women use bikes as a medium of transport at all? Can you leave the house without a male guardian? Sorry if these sound ignorant, but I really don't know. Thanks!

tequilamockinburd25 karma

Some religious people believe that birth control is forbidden because it "intervenes with god's will", but all married women I know use it fine and it's readily available in pharmacies at cheap costs.

Women don't bike, the weather is too hot and it's not like they're allowed to wear their bike shorts.

I can leave the house without my guardian freely, but sometimes I'm not allowed in places unless he's with me.

rx_tacos4 karma

Would you leave Islam if you were to move to a western country? There are many that are very tolerant to Islam, but others that look down a lot on the Arab and Islamic within the last 10 yrs.

Also, how do you feel about the King? I recall seeing a youtube video of him and he said that women who work for the Kingdom need not wear the abaya, niqab or even a hijab. Why doesn't this translate to the religious police?

tequilamockinburd12 karma

I'm not that religious to begin with. So, I don't care much about that aspect.

Well, I don't think the king really said that. And the religious police is a governmental institution, so whatever the King says is right no debate about that.

iia4 karma

Do you ever plan on getting the fuck out of there?

What would the potential penalty be if you were caught making this post?

tequilamockinburd23 karma

Yes, I plan on moving away as soon as I'm done with my studies here. Potential penalty? I'm not sure, it varies according to how much publicity it gets. One guy was arrested a couple of years ago for a few tweets (he's still not released) and other people are publicly atheists and insult the gov and no one did anything about them.

invisibo18 karma

Speaking of... Just a heads up: the Saudi internet is heavily regulated and monitored. Just be careful about what you're posting unless you're going through some sort of proxy.

tequilamockinburd29 karma

I'm using a proxy. Thanks.

yokem4 karma

I'm sorry if this is a personal or rude question, please forgive me.

As a liberal women in such a conservative society, how is your sex life? For us westerners (canada) sex is a very open and practised thing, how do you satisfy your human sexual urges?

tequilamockinburd9 karma

Hahaha I manage.

throwawayelle3 karma

I read "Girls of Riyadh" by Rajaa Alsanea a while ago (mostly because it was panned as "Sex & the City in the middle east). Have you read the book? Is life for women in Riyadh anything like that?

tequilamockinburd3 karma

I wouldn't say it's really like that, but for girls in a similar situation as the characters I'd say it's pretty realistic.

Artichoken3 karma

I understand to some degree what your going through. Difference is, I'm a man. It's hard to even imagine how hard it would have been to go through life again as a women in Saudi. Now i'm almost completing my undergrad in the US. And Cannot fathom the thought that I will have to come back some day. So, I'm trying as best I can to delay the inevitable, going to gradschool, work for the learning experience. So my question is, are you planning on continuing your education as a reason to leave Saudi in the meantime? and what well you do afterwards, work?

tequilamockinburd9 karma

Well, since I'm young now I'm not entirely certain that moving away is what I really want to do or is it just a side effect of being this young. So, I'm keeping my options open. In other words, I won't get a political asylum while I can get a student visa. Maybe I want to go back someday.

If by the tie I'm done with grad school, and I realize that I don't want to go back, I'll find work and just live there. I'm an adult abroad, i can make my own decisions.

scoutycat3 karma

There are lots of women around the world trying to help advance women's rights in Saudi, as well as other nations. What do you think is the most effective way for foreigners to support your cause? And, are there any organizations in Saudi that are doing a particularly good job of advancing the status of women?

tequilamockinburd4 karma

No organizations that I know of, and supporting the cause by raising awareness is the best way to help I think.

ckee113 karma

When you look at your language, culture, heritage ...... what's possibly a good location to move to?

tequilamockinburd7 karma

I'm not sure I understand your question.

tchemie7 karma

I think he means to ask what is the best place for you to move to based on your background

tequilamockinburd17 karma

I don't fit into my background, so I'll find a place that allows me to create my own.. if that makes any sense. Heading west, maybe the states to continue my higher education.

yottskry4 karma

I think she or he means "Based on your existing language, culture and heritage, what good country to move to would be easiest to adapt to?"

It's a hard question to phrase!

tequilamockinburd4 karma

A western country, maybe.

Georgewithquestion3 karma

Where would you like you move to when you leave?

tequilamockinburd9 karma

I'm in a "anywhere but here" state of mind at the moment.

mystery_boxx2 karma

Great to hear from you! Do you feel that the book, Girls of Riyadh (or Banat al-Riyadh), by Rajaa Alsanea is an accurate representation of life for young Saudi women? What do you think of the book? Did it cause as much of a scandal as I have read?

tequilamockinburd3 karma

It did create a lot of controversy, and to this day a lot of Saudis think it's "literary trash". It's not an accurate representation, it's just the experience of those four girls.

theguyfromaustralia2 karma

Is it true Saudi women make great 'sand-wiches'? :P Just kidding, serious question now...

Are there any other women in your circle of friends who share similar views to you? If so how did you all trust each other enough to reveal your views to them given the consequences are quite scary....

tequilamockinburd15 karma

aahhhhahaha the sand-wiches joke! first time I hear that one! /s

You're very right about the consequences, but living in a society like mine sort of helps you develop the ability to distinguish between tolerant people and religious nut-heads. So, you know how much should you censor when you're talking to someone new.

My friends share the same views as me, and they all plan on continuing their higher education abroad, one of them is going this august!

Will_Ladislaw2 karma

Even though you say you plan on leaving, do you feel an obligation to stay in Saudi Arabia and contribute, even if in a small way, to positive changes in the country, particularly for women? As opposed to emigrating, which could possibly be more personally rewarding.

tequilamockinburd2 karma

This is my own personal struggle. I asked myself what do I want to be by the time I'm thirty, and the answer is safe and happy. I'm not happy here, and this society won't allow me to do whatever I want safely.

Never say never, though.

andquester1 karma

Is Gabriel Iglesias and Jeff Dunham really famous where you live ? Have you ever watch western artist performs in Saudi Arabia ?

tequilamockinburd1 karma

I guess they're famous, among stand up comedy fans.

I never watched a western artist perform.

Webecomemonsters1 karma

Why would you want to live there? If my country did this to me, I leave or die trying.

tequilamockinburd3 karma

I'm obviously not here by choice.

patanwilson1 karma

Out of curiosity, what is the opinion in Saudi Arabia on Venezuelan people?

tequilamockinburd1 karma

I don't know, i don't think I ever discussed Venezuela with any Saudis before.

OlderThanGif1 karma

What's your living situation like right now? Do you like with your parents and siblings? Is a household of unrelated roommates common (like a bunch of students living together for university)?

tequilamockinburd2 karma

I live with my family and siblings. A household like what you mentioned isn't so common, not that I know of.

yin2lazy1 karma

do you think that everywhere should be liberal and open minded or do you believe that there should be areas where those who believe in backwards things should be allowed to practice there backwards beliefs and not have thier beliefs challenged?

Like if there was a man who did not blieve in science, no womens rights and gay is not OK that there should be places where he could live in peace IE the southern part of the US

tequilamockinburd6 karma

I think everyone is entitled to their own belief and their opinions, but no one should be allowed to force them on other people. I think in a perfect country, everyone should be accommodated. Everyone should be allowed to live as they wish as long as they're not hurting anyone.

ckee111 karma

A lot of Americans see Saudi Arabia as the goal of the Republican Party In America ...... Only difference would be switching God for Allah!

tequilamockinburd18 karma

Yea, I agree with that. Religion and politics aren't a good mix, doesn't matter which religion it is.