It is a well-documented fact that Saudi Arabia has a long – long – way to go as far as women’s rights are concerned.
Misogynistic, religious and moral policing of women has been one of the most contentious issues surrounding the Arab state for as long as anyone can remember and it seems things are getting more ridiculous by the day.
A female spectator angered Saudi men on social media after she was filmed cheering for her favorite soccer team during the Asian Champions League semi-final last week.
Women in Saudi Arabia are banned from attending football matches. The government has plans for building stadiums with separate sections for women but it has not been confirmed yet.
The clip of the match has been viewed almost 400,000 times on YouTube, and garnered more than 1,000 comments – mostly from outraged men who berated the woman, reportedly a Saudi citizen, for attending the game.
“Women aren’t interested in football, so why go to a stadium to watch a live match?” wrote one commenter while another posted the following remark:
“Does this woman not have a man? Her place is in the house.”
The furor surrounding the innocuous clip is pointless for the following reasons:
- The match wasn’t even being played in Saudi Arabia. It was in the United Arab Emirates where there is no restriction on a mixed-gender crowd.
- The woman, as per Saudi culture, was “modestly dressed.”
- She was, as one can see in the video, accompanied by a couple of other women – again – “modestly dressed.”
- And last but not the least, her team lost, so it was an (understandably) involuntary reaction. (Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal were defeated 2-1 by the UAE's Al Ain in the Asian Champions League semi-finals last week.)
Watch the viral clip in the video below: