At a conference last month at the Hilton hotel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city, women mingled with men, took questions at corporate booths and forsook the head-to-toe black abayas that Saudi women traditionally wear in public. In March, the country’s largest bank in Jeddah appointed a woman as the chief executive of its investment banking unit and a month earlier, Somayya Jabarti became the first woman to run a major newspaper in the kingdom. Female unemployment has declined and women can now practice law. Despite these changes, “Saudi women are largely denied the right to be treated as full legal adults like their male counterparts. Sex segregation and the ban on women driving relegate them to second-class status,” says Human Rights Watch.
Read more via Bloomberg.
Yay! Slowly but surely
Killing a man at a wedding? What kind of monster would do such a thing?
Pharrell Williams covers GQ Magazine April 2014 issue
On Hillary Clinton:
"Let me tell you why Hillary’s going to win. Everywhere you go in this country, you have red and blue. You got the Democrats; you got the Republicans. You got the Bloods; you got the Crips. You know what else is red and blue? Blood. Blood is blue in your body until air hits it, and then it turns red. That means there’s unity. There’s gonna be unity. So when you think about a night where there’s late-night talk-show hosts and it’s mostly women, that’s a different world. Right? A world where 75 percent of the prime ministers and the presidents were women: that’s a different world. That’s gonna happen, and it’s gonna happen when Hillary wins. Because you know what? No matter how staunch of a supporter you are of no-abortion, whatever you are: you’re a woman, and there’s no way in the world you’re going to vote for somebody that’s going to try to tell you what to do with your body. Hillary’s gonna win. Listen, I’m reaching out to her right now. She’s gonna win.”
On the Tea Party:
"The Tea Party guys? The guys with the n***er jokes in 2014? They’re all trying to learn how to do the Dougie. Please. While their daughters are all twerking. Trust me: Miley tells me all the time. Not saying that about Billy Ray, but I’m saying Miley tells me all the time: all those little girls, all those girls with their Republican daddies, they’re twerkin’ somewhere listening to Jay Z and Beyoncé and doin’ the ‘Happy’ dance. And that’s black."
Read the full cover story here.
He makes me quiver
When I was seventeen and preparing to leave for university, my mother’s only brother saw fit to give me some advice.
“Just don’t be an idiot, kid,” he told me, “and don’t ever forget that boys and girls can never just be friends.”
I laughed and answered, “I’m not too worried. And I don’t really think all guys are like that.”
When I was eighteen and the third annual advent of the common cold was rolling through residence like a pestilent fog, a friend texted me asking if there was anything he could do to help.
I told him that if he could bring me up some vitamin water that would be great, if it wasn’t too much trouble.
That semester I learned that human skin cells replace themselves every three to five weeks. I hoped that in a month, maybe I’d stop feeling the echoes of his touch; maybe my new skin would feel cleaner.
It didn’t. But I stood by what I said. Not all guys are like that.
When I was nineteen and my roommate decided the only way to celebrate the end of midterms was to get wasted at a club, I humoured her.
Four drinks, countless leers and five hands up my skirt later, I informed her I was ready to leave.
“I get why you’re upset,” she told me on the walk home, “but you have to tolerate that sort of thing if you want to have any fun. And really, not all guys are like that.”
(Age nineteen also saw me propositioned for casual sex by no fewer than three different male friends, and while I still believe that guys and girls can indeed be just friends, I was beginning to see my uncle’s point.)
When I was twenty and a stranger that started chatting to me in my usual cafe asked if he could walk with me (since we were going the same way and all), I accepted.
Before we’d even made it three blocks he was pulling me into an alleyway and trying to put his hands up my shirt. “You were staring,” he laughed when I asked what the fuck he was doing (I wasn’t), “I’m just taking pity.”
But not all guys are like that.
I am twenty one and a few days ago a friend and I were walking down the street. A car drove by with the windows down, and a young man stuck his head out and whistled as they passed. I ignored it, carrying on with the conversation.
My friend did not. “Did you know those people?” He asked.
“Not at all,” I answered.
Later when we sat down to eat he got this thoughtful look on his face. When I asked what was wrong he said, “You know not all guys do that kind of thing, right? We’re not all like that.”
As if he were imparting some great profound truth I’d never realized before. My entire life has been turned around, because now I’ve been enlightened: not all guys are like that.
No. Not all guys are. But enough are. Enough that I am uncomfortable when a man sits next to me on the bus. Enough that I will cross to the other side of the street if I see a pack of guys coming my way. Enough that even fleeting eye contact with a male stranger makes my insides crawl with unease. Enough that I cannot feel safe alone in a room with some of my male friends, even ones I’ve known for years. Enough that when I go out past dark for chips or milk or toilet paper, I carry a knife, I wear a coat that obscures my figure, I mimic a man’s gait. Enough that three years later I keep the story of that day to myself, when the only thing that saved me from being raped was a right hook to the jaw and a threat to scream in a crowded dorm, because I know what the response will be.
I live my life with the everburning anxiety that someone is going to put their hands on me regardless of my feelings on the matter, and I’m not going to be able to stop them. I live with the knowledge that statistically one in three women have experienced a sexual assault, but even a number like that can’t be trusted when we are harassed into silence. I live with the learned instinct, the ingrained compulsion to keep my mouth shut to jeers and catcalls, to swallow my anger at lewd suggestions and crude gestures, to put up my walls against insults and threats. I live in an environment that necessitates armouring myself against it just to get through a day peacefully, and I now view that as normal. I have adapted to extreme circumstances and am told to treat it as baseline. I carry this fear close to my heart, rooted into my bones, and I do so to keep myself unharmed.
So you can tell me that not all guys are like that, and you’d even be right, but that isn’t the issue anymore. My problem is not that I’m unaware of the fact that some guys are perfectly civil, decent, kind—my problem is simply this:
In a world where this cynical overcaution is the only thing that ensures my safety, I’m no longer willing to take the risk.