Saudi women set back by night-owl hours?

// 17 July 2007

sunsetSaudi women tend to sleep during the day and stay up all night, according to the blog Sand Gets in My Eyes.

A byproduct of a society which limits female independence and job opportunities, SGIME argues that this night-owl behaviour in effect puts in place an “extreme segregation” between the genders.

It is a (another) brilliant way to make sure that men remain in control – whether or not they deserve to! Encourage women to sleep the day away, or at least the productive part of the day.; the time when important business is conducted, when the decisions are being made. It takes them entirely out of the loop!

Saudi Stepford Wife tells a similar story:

While teaching at a university here, I noticed several of my students arriving to my 8 AM lectures in full make-up and complicated hair-do’s. For a while I thought, “wow, what time did they wake up in order to pull that look off?” I didn’t take long to figure out that they were waiting to go to bed after my lecture finished at 10 AM. Several housewives go to bed after their kids go to school then wake up at around noon when they come home.

She says it’s incredibly hard to resist the pressure to follow this routine, because Saudi social life is set up along these lines. Of course, every society organises its time differently. But I had to pause when I read this, which does rather suggest that these sleeping habits re-inforce or at least express gender expectations in the Kingdom:

The only exception to this backwards sleeping in this family is the working men. They follow pretty regular schedules. Once when I’d mentioned what time I normally sleep and wake my father-in-law commented, “what are you, a man?”

Photo by moaksey, shared under a Creative Commons license

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