Elite Urban Women in Saudi Arabia Soraya Altorki

In a careful study of the lives of three generations of women in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Altorki (1986) demonstrates that modesty practices, although always legitimated in terms of Islamic doctrine, change over time (fieldwork periods included 1971-1973, 1974-1976, and numerous visits until 1984). Avoiding the Great Tradition versus Little Tradition dichotomy, Altorki shows how women's own understandings of the same Islamic teachings have changed over time. In the oldest generation (between the ages of 50 and 80), girls began veiling when they began menstruating. The veil consisted of a black cloak which hung from the shoulders to the ground and a chiffon shawl wrapped several times around the head and face. This veil was to be worn at all times by women in public places and at home in the presence of men other than their grandfathers, fathers, brothers, sons, grandsons, and men they could not marry due to a existing affinal link. The middle-generation women (born during and after the World War II), many of whom spent long periods abroad, modified this dress, while their daughters have further changed it. Appropriately modest dress in public is now defined as a shorter cloak that ends just below the knee and a headscarf. At home, married women may not veil in the presence of a variety of people, including friends and servants (although unmarried women veil before older men and men of their own generation). The covering of the face in all public places has also changed, so that even young unmarried women may not do so in certain areas, such as western-style shopping centers.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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