Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Guide

Maureen Dowd wrote a piece for Vanity Fair magazine, titled A Girls' Guide to Saudi Arabia, which has me all in a frenzy. Dowd went to Saudi Arabia for ten days to investigate the recent attempt to lure tourists to the country. What transpires is much complaining on the authors part about the abaya (a garb worn by women, similar to the burka) and trying to break every government rule set in place. First off, let me state this, while I do not agree with many the laws in Saudi Arabia I understand that when visiting any country it is best to follow and respect the customs, whether you agree with them or not. It seems Dowd didn't get this memo. Instead she repeatedly stays "one step in ahead of the feared religious police" when she smokes cigars, sits in the men's section of Starbucks, ect. Just because she is one hot shot reporter doesn't mean she is above the law. Also her description of the abaya is it, "makes you look like a mummy and feel like a pizza oven" is rather snarky. Sure it maybe hot to wear, but seriously get over it, you are there to enjoy all the country has to offer, not to complain about what you are wearing. I think the article would have been more interesting if she had also interviewed women who live in Saudi Arabia, not just men. I don't understand how she could complain about how women had to be covered up, they weren't equal, and then not even really quote any Saudi women in the article. Is Maureen Dowd not just perpetuating these beliefs if she doesn't even write about the women too? I know this is huge criticism of this Vanity Fair piece however, I had to get my feelings off my chest, sometimes it seems to me journalist just get all wrong! Now if I had been in the authors shoes I would have made the most of it; I would have tried to find out more about how Saudi women live, write even more about the sites, and try to show the country in a positive light. Yes, Saudi Arabia has its faults but it can't be all that bad, surly their is some good within the country?

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