A cleric in Saudi Arabia has said that if women manage to win their struggle to get behind the steering wheel of a car, the actual exercise of driving one could damage their ovaries and cause them to bear children with clinical complications.
Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohaidanurged women aiming to overturn the ban on driving to put"reason ahead of their hearts, emotions and passions".
Well, to be exact, he said, "If a woman drives a car, not out of pure necessity, that could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upwards."
Yes, he actually thought of that, and, said it with a straight face.
In a country where women risk getting lashed for driving and morality is threatened by beautiful eyes, it is hardly surprising that some men are coming up with ridiculous theories. It shows the desperation of Arab men to control women.
Facebook The internet is responding as expected with outrage to the latest statement from the Saudi religious police.
LOLing at stupid Saudi cleric saying driving cars will damage ovary of wimmens. Idiot doesn't know it doesn't happen if you drive water car— Dr Majorly PhD (@majorlyp) September 29, 2013
#قيادة_المرأة_تؤثر_على_المبايض_والحوض Does anything ever happen to your balls? No? Then we’re fine— Rand (@xxRand) September 28, 2013
Saudi Sheikhs discussing women driving pic.twitter.com/0K2FIgmV6O— Hisham Malaika (@hisham01) September 29, 2013
#قيادة_المرأة_تؤثر_على_المبايض_والحوض yes, and holding the steering wheel causes breast cancer, right? Science.— Noura Abualfaraj (@Noura89) September 29, 2013
Otw to work tomorrow, I'll contemplate the fact that my ovaries are rotting from too much driving. #WomensDrivingAffectsOvariesAndPelvises— Riley Thompson (@life_of_riley3) September 30, 2013
Ladies for October 26: Take care of your ovaries please #Saudi— Reda_Officiel (@Reda_ZeOfficial) September 29, 2013
@WelshToy It was a typo. He meant to say, being stoned to death, under the direction of saudi clerics, damages women's ovaries.— feargal the cat (@feargalthecat) September 27, 2013
And being a Saudi cleric appears to damage your brain; http://t.co/0ryP1n0aC1— Jane Caro (@JaneCaro) September 30, 2013
Worth noting is the fact that this declaration has come just a week before October 26, a day set by Saudi women to defy the ban on driving. They plan to drive on the day to press the authorities to lift the ban. A fresh petition was also filed.
This is not the first time. The struggle of Saudi women for such a basic right has been a long and arduous one. The opposition they have had to face ranges from mindboggling to downright ridiculous.
In 1990, during the Gulf War, 47 women staged a public protest by driving around the capital city of Riyadh in a convoy until they were stopped by the police. They and their families had to pay dearly for their show of courage.
In 2007, a petition signed by 1,100 people, and submitted to King Abdullah, asking for women to be allowed to drive, produced no results.
The following year, activist Wajeha al-Huwaider, protested against the ban by filming herself while driving on a highway.
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However, these women are relentless. What’s more, their efforts are getting international support and encouragement. Every passing day brings more restrictions and opposition, but they seem to be getting closer to their goal. The participation of the first Saudi female athletes in the London Olympics has given them some hope.
So, here’s looking forward to October 26, and hoping to see some progress. If ovaries need to be sacrificed in the process, so be it!