I see an interesting parallel. In short:
Saudi men don’t let their women out of the house alone. If they do, they will get severely judged by other men, women, and maybe arrested by the religious police. People will say they are not protecting their womenfolk from sexual attacks.
And this is a relatively new phenomenon; Saudi women went about much freer before the eighties. Increased wealth has allowed women to stay indoor, not have to work, and it is a status symbol to have a Pakistani driver to drive them everywhere they have to be.
American parents don’t let their kids out of the house alone. If they do, they will be severely judged by other by other men, women, and parents, and they may get arrested by Child Protection Services. People will say they are not protecting their kids from sexual attacks.
And this is a relatively new phenomenon; kids went about much freer before the eighties. Increased wealth has allowed kids to play indoor, for parents to sypervise them with electronics, and it is a status symbol for their parents to be able to drive them everywhere they have to be.
Am I the only one who sees a parallel here?
I thought of this when I read The National Geographic. There’s an interesting article on Saudi women in this month’s issue. The women themselves explain how they feel about wearing a veil, the sexually segregated community, and about the constrictions that society puts on them. The article can be read here for free. A quote from the article:
I’m Dutch, but we usually adopt most of the US cultural mores some time after you do.
I’m a parent myself and I notice a cultural restriction, even in the Netherlands, in how free range I can let my kid be.
Sure, I can make a realistic assessment of how safe my particular kid will be, judging traffic, bullies, weather, water, and the teensy tiny chance of meeting a child rapist. I also take into account the fact that my kid will on the whole be safer if he is trusted with age-appropriate independence to learn and get self-confident.
But I also noticed that I have to take into account what other parents will think of me, and that there is a tendency to judge parents, erring on the side of overprotectiveness. Even here, and from what I’ve read, even more in the US.