Feminism

Saudi Historian: Women Shouldn’t Drive Because They’ll Be Raped

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Here’s the sort-of transcript:

A Saudi historian has gone on record as saying that women shouldn’t be allowed to drive because if they drive, their cars may break down. And if their cars break down, they can be raped.

This is a completely ridiculous argument to people living outside of Saudi Arabia, since women driving is a completely normal part of our daily lives, and the thought of stopping half the population from doing something that is seems as natural to us as breathing is absurd.

But if you think it’s ridiculous to stop women from driving because they might get raped but you think it’s cool to stop women from drinking alcohol or wearing particular outfits or saying certain things on the Internet because they might get raped, then have a seat, because you’re a giant hypocrite.

Saudis arguing that women shouldn’t drive because they might get raped is the perfect absurd argument to highlight the inherent absurdity of every other argument that pretends to be about protecting women but is actually about controlling women’s behavior in more and more severe ways, creating impossible standards that we can never meet in order to be perfectly unrape-able.

The absurdity becomes even clearer when the interviewer asked the saudi historian whether or not it was a potential problem that women may be raped by their male chauffeurs. He admitted that that was a problem, and suggested that the solution would be hiring foreign women to drive around Saudi women.

It’s a game women can never win: our rights are curtailed in the supposed interest of our safety, but we’re never actually made more safe. What happens to women every day in pretty much all societies around the world is a much more severe and dangerous version of what happens to people who travel on airplanes when they go through TSA. We’re offered the illusion of safety, but we’re never actually made any safer, we’re just forced to waste time taking off our god damn shoes when we’re already running late.

Imagine if the TSA decided you couldn’t fly at all, because you might be murdered by a terrorist on the plane. “Why don’t you just stop the terrorist from flying,” you may ask incredulously. The TSA agent shrugs and says that they can’t catch all the terrorists, so people should take personal responsibility and protect themselves by hiring a private jet. Though some TSA agents think even that is too risky, so you should probably just drive. But you might get raped so you should have someone else drive. Someone who doesn’t want to rape you.

Oh, dear, I’ve mixed up my analogies and now I have no idea how I’m getting to Chicago next month.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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4 Comments

  1. I’m still a bit confused how female foreign drivers prevent rape after the car breaks down. I have the suspicion that it has to do with his idea that western women “don’t care” about being raped*. Does he think that the western woman will just happily fuck whoever threatens them?
    Because being able to get consensual sex apparently means that you won’t rape. That’s why no rich famous man can ever commit sexual assault.
    *And here I have the suspicion that by “rape” he might mean “sex with somebody who isn’t their legitimate owner”

    1. Yeah, I think he doesn’t actually mind if the foreign female drivers get raped as long as the Saudi woman doesn’t get raped, but then whose to say that just because she has a foreign female driver, that both women won’t get raped?

      See he obviously didn’t think any of this through, but then he doesn’t have to. Hes one of the people in charge of making up rules that don’t personally apply to him.

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