by Jennifer Castoro
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This past Saturday, a small number of Saudi women took to their cars to protest the policy, driving themselves to do such scandalous things as buy milk. One cleric said women driving would lead to "ruined marriages, a low birthrate, the spread of adultery, and 'the spending of excessive amounts on beauty products'," according to The New York Times.
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Beyond the shocking misogyny of that statement, I had to laugh at the lumping of a trip to Sephora in with infidelity, divorce, and debt. I suppose, to his thinking, applying makeup equals seeking male attention, which leads to the demise of marriage and the downfall of society. He overlooks the fact that a woman may possibly want to make herself happy, or to copy her stylish girlfriends, or to express her individuality, or any of the other million reasons she could have for buying some mascara. And I don't know about you, but most of my car trips involve mundane errands, not meeting my secret lover in the desert after going on a bronzer binge.
I admire these women so much for the way they went about their protest--quietly, nonviolently, and bravely, simply asserting their desire for more freedom while trying to respect a culture that limits them. Hopefully trips to the supermarket will soon become as routine for them as they are for me.