Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Let Her Get Fat!

"Let her get fat!" is the new cry from the women of Saudi Arabia who are challenging a a recent clampdown on female-only gyms.

Following a recent increase in unlicensed female gyms, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs recently closed two in Jeddah and one in Dammam for not having a license.

Why? Female gyms have no official authority overseeing them, so while male gyms get licenced by the government, female gyms are technically illegal.

In a religious opinion published in Okaz newspaper, Sheikh Abdullah al-Maneea (member of the official Supreme Council of Religious Scholars) explained that "Football and basketball are sports that require a lot of movement and jumping," and suggested that such excessive movement may harm girls who are still virgins, possibly causing them to lose their virginity.

According to an article from Reuters, "women's gyms can only exist inside hospitals as 'health centres' supervised by the Ministry of Health but prices are so high, at least 1,000 riyals ($266) a month, that only the affluent can afford membership. Cheaper versions have sprung up under name 'beauty salon' or 'studio' but now their future is in doubt."

Madawi Al-Hassoun of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce said the chamber has been trying for three years to find a government body prepared to take on board licensing female gyms.

Considering the high rates of diabetes and even bone frailty among women, and the fact that the Ministry of Health says it does want to combat these issues, is there any way to solve this issue without upsetting religious clerics or government entities?

1 comment:

  1. hmmm..
    I think it's a matter of time.. like Mrs Basma said the change will come.. they don’t have a Strong argument they stand on ”No one can say it’s HARAM or against the religion”.. so they finally will agree on that

    we had many female gyms.. but maybe it under another governmental name

    the problem is in the head.. the people don't understand the important of sport.. not in a daily life.. not in school
    we was complain about girl's schools which don’t have a sport class.. and I discovered lately that even the boy's.. they only have 1 hour and they play football without a sport teacher.. any teacher just watch them running after the ball.. no teams no Competitions with other school.. nothing

    Sarah Sirajuddin