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Saudi's In Bikinis by Nicolas D. Kristof

            There is always controversy that lies within cultural traditions and practices around the world. Many people scrutinize the small percentage of African tribes that practice body scarification as a barbaric, yet their own people view it as heroism and art. Even in the United States- a country with a stereotypical vision of freedom of culture, can be seen as a place where chaos and sexual objectification occurs on a day to day basis. This is the occurrence of controversy, the difference of opinion based upon social and cultural upbringings, though who is to determine one is "better" or "right" over the other? Nicholas D. Kristof voices his opposing opinion in his essay "Saudis in Bikinis" observing and interviewing women of Saudi Arabia and their roles in society. In comparison to the United States, the women of Saudi Arabia are generally seen as inferior and subordinate to men, but in their defense there are always two sides to each story. .
             Kristof makes a clear point in the sense that women of Saudi Arabia are limited in their whereabouts, "Saudi Arabia is a bizarre place. It has McDonald's restaurants that look just like those at home except that there is one line for men and one for women" (176). This is only one example that showcases their social standards between men and women. Women in Saudi Arabia are expected to cover their bodies from head to toe when they are in public. This is something that is both a social and religious requirement that Saudi women comply with easily, reasoning in their argument that it prevents sexual objectification. Rather than focusing on the how's or what's, the women view freedom as having the ability to participate. " 'I can swim, and do sports and go to restaurants and wear what I want, but not in front of men. Why should I show my legs and breasts to men? Is that really freedom?'" (176). This is where the definition of freedom is put to the test, is it freedom if one has to participate with rules and regulations? There is no freedom of self expression through their traditional garments.

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