Saudi Arabia has, as we all know, never been my favorite government. I love the people, but the government has always rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman who likes to drive. Maybe it’s because I enjoy independence, and the freedom to choose my own clothing. Maybe because monarchy has always made my stomach churn just a little bit. Whatever the reasons, I’m not one to shy away from criticizing The Kingdom.
This, however, has gone too far. Even for the Orwellian Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices. Saudi Arabia has lost its plot over a photograph of a woman in niqaab holding up a bra.
The photograph was displayed as part of a photography assignment in Thompson River University, Kamploops, BC. After a group of students complained about the “provocative” image, it was removed. It’s now back, but the Saudi Arabian government is now involved.
I, of course, not one to shy away from controversial art, am a fan of the artist, Sooraya Graham’s work. A niqaabi herself (not that it matters), she explained that she wanted to picture veiled Muslim women as normal people, too. She said she was tired of having people point to her in stores, and wanted to express her own humanity through the photograph.
I believe that is why Saudi Arabia is having such a difficult time with this. Women as people? We can’t have that. The photo, after all, implies that she has breasts, which implies that she also, by default, has other uniquely female organs. She may even have sex, or worse, enjoy it (brazen hussy). If she has a bra, she also may wear other pieces of lingerie, which, just by the implication, means she has no decency because it makes sexually frustrated men want her. Her eyes, too, are quite nice, so they’d thank her to cover those bad boys up.
Sarcasm aside, the artist has support from many people throughout the world (I’m sure some, too, from Saudi Arabia). Sooraya, keep doing your thing. Keep taking great photos that express what you think the world needs to hear – because they do. To read the full article (and see the video clip) click here.