Saudi Arabian Restaurants Illegally Ban Single Women, Because Flirting Is Bad
Not many people enjoy eating alone, but for many Saudi Arabian women, restaurants are one of the few public places where they can spend time without a male chaperone. However, some business owners are trying to change even that by illegally banning single women in their restaurants. Between this and the ban on female drivers, I'm not really sure where Saudi Arabian women are expected to spend time outside the house, and neither are they.The restaurants have been asked to remove the signs banning single women from the premises by the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR). According to the BBC, these signs were put up by one owner after witnessing "numerous incidents" of flirting. Flirting? The horror! Can't have women floozying up the establishment by smiling and, you know, existing.According to the BBC, a spokesperson for the NSHR reminded everyone that the ban is illegal under Saudi Arabian law; restaurants aren't allowed to require a guardian for women just trying to eat lunch. If customers are behaving "inappropriately," Khalid Al-Fakhri asked the business owners to figure out another way to fix the problem than straight-out banning women. However, one owner wasn't having any of that nonsense. "We'll only remove these signs when we make sure such incidents never happen again on our premises," the man told Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat.
So they're not planning on backing down. Social media responses have been mixed, with some bloggers strongly in favor of the ban, the Gulf News reports. One man posted that he was absolutely shocked to see a woman "come in alone and [focus] on her mobile from which emanates loud music...then [take] out a cigarette." Okay, lighting up a cigarette in a presumably indoor restaurant isn't cool, but...seriously? You're upset because she was using her phone while eating by herself? Similarly, another blogger was dismayed when "several women...[came] in and would speak loudly without any respect for public behavior."
Others are appalled, stating that it's blatant discrimination. Which it is.
Even if you somehow ignore the fact that this is clearly misogynistic, not allowing women to eat at your restaurant is kind of a terrible business move. I guess they're forgetting that women actually make up half the population in Saudi Arabia. I'm not a businesswoman by any means, but I'd say banning half your country's population when you used to be one of the sole places to get out of the house is probably not the best idea. But hey, if these places want to go out of business because they're scared of women talking too loudly, that's their prerogative.Images: Tribes of the World/Flickr, noguess/Tumblr