The cosmopolitan Saudi woman
September 11, marked the birth of a new era. Although the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks undeniably played a role, this particular era has nothing to do with international politics, conflicts and terrorist actions. The pressure in the wake of September 11 forced the Saudi regime into promoting the modern, independent woman and also forced it to relax the restrictions on freedom of speech. In recent years, however, something new has happened: the subject has become the focus of the academic world. As a result of this new academic study, which draws on anthropology, sociology and gender studies, new areas are being exposed. These areas, which had previously been overlooked or deemed important only for women, are proving to be of great importance to both women and men.
'They took me to jail'
Nothing excites such fervent debate among Saudi intellectuals and activists, and divides them more clearly. Touch it and risk getting burned. The prohibition on women driving is the element that gets the most attention in the United States, and it is certainly an important element of the debate in Saudi Arabia itself. King Abdallah has approached the third rail, but in a very cautious manner.
Yasser Jamal, who was also the head of the center for sex correction at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, said about 93 percent of the operations were performed during the childhood. He said the correction operations among adults were 7 percent, adding that the majority of the cases were women wanting to become men. Jamal said the sex correction operations were allowed under the Shariah but changing the sex based on personal whims was strictly prohibited. He regretted that there were no awareness programs about sex correction and said Saudi hospitals never carried out any sex change operation, which is not permissible under Islamic law. Jamal said people desire to change their sex are suffering from a sickness known as "gender hatred" or "loss of sex identity". They believe that they are locked in the wrong bodies, which are not theirs," he added.