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Breaking the stereotypes of Saudi Arabia

saudi arabia

People had scared me so much about Saudi Arabia before I came here. Mostly about how it’s really conservative, but once I came here I found out that it’s not really true! Here are ten different stereotypes about Saudi Arabia that are simply myths.

  • Women have to cover their heads

saudi arabia

That’s one of the biggest stereotypes of Saudi Arabia, that women have to completely cover themselves when they go out. But that’s not true! You’re bound to do that in Makkah and Madinah, of course, but not other places like Jeddah. You can go without a scarf to malls, cafes, restaurants, or anywhere you want to!

  • Women can’t go anywhere without men

saudi arabia

It’s generally known that women are supposed to go out with a “mehram” and they can’t go out alone. Once again, not true at all. Women can go out alone where ever they want to.

  • It’s a desert

saudi arabia

It’s NOT a desert! It’s actually more modernized than Pakistan. When you fly over Saudi Arabia, all you see are yellow lights lighting up the whole country. They have tall buildings, epic malls and what not! Definitely not a desert.

  • People ride camels

saudi arabia

Similarly, people don’t ride camels. They have the best cars, and the most expensive ones too. You’ll see jeeps everywhere, and Ferraris, and audis… and wish you had them too.

  • All Saudis have oil money

saudi arabia

Saudis are rich, but that’s only for the Sheikhs. Not everyone here has Oil money, some people are living on average wages too, and some below average.

  • Taxis are expensive so petrol might be too

saudi arabia

Petrol in Saudi Arabia is cheaper than water. A bottle of water currently costs 2 riyals, and a liter of petrol only costs you 0.77 riyals!

Taxis are just expensive because many people make a living out of it.

  • Schooling is strictly separate

saudi arabia

There are several schools in Saudia which are co-education, which include British and American international schools too.

  • Girls can only wear black abayas

saudi arabia

Eh! Again, not true. Girls wear very fancy abayas out on events, and those of different colors too, like purple, pink, etc.

  • People only speak Arabic

saudi arabia

Noooo! Many Pakistanis and Phillipinos work here at malls and shops too, so Urdu and English is quite widely spoken

  • Females are really oppressed

saudi arabia

Females are actually more respected here than men. If a female accuses a man of harassment, for no reason whatsoever, people would rather listen to the female than the male.

But that’s not it, women, in general, are treated with much respect here.

5 Comments

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  1. Women have to cover their heads?

    Really? Have you lived in Saudia? Ask someone who’s done that and run into the religious police!

    • Dear Farhan,
      Thank you for your comment. I am currently living in Saudi Arabia with family who grew up here, in Jeddah. The ruling of covering your head is a myth, the Law only states women should cover her body, making only the Abayah compulsory.
      “Religious police” are more commonly known as Mutawwas, who can not force you to cover your head against your will. Especially ever since King Salman has come into power, they have become extremely rare. The King and Deputy Crowned Prince have affected the influence of the Mutawwas and they no longer raid the streets/malls/restaurants etc.
      The more you know! Also, I only write based on personal experiences.
      Regards,
      Laiba

  2. I will still rant against that oppressive regime and failure of some people to fulfill a promise they did before leaving.

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