Youth in Saudi Arabia and the USA
There are historical factors that created misunderstanding between Saudi Arabia and the United States. Different traditions, cultures, ways of life and so on created a curtain between people from both countries. Approaches to education are different in both countries. There are differences between Saudi Arabian and U.S girls and boys based on love, marriage, education, entertainment and style of clothes.
Differences Between Saudi and USA Teenagers
Love is treated in different ways in Saudi Arabia and the U.S. In Saudi Arabia love relations are protected by religion and traditions. A young man is raised to protect the women, men respect their chastity. Arabian boy is brought up to cherish and adore the woman. If the Arabian girl or woman tries to touch or hug a man, she will be ostracized (Yackley-Franken 143). A Saudi man is inclined to think about woman outside of marriage, offer her intimate relations, he can take it. However, he will not touch the woman he is inclined to marry. When the man has serious intentions and thinks about marriage, he wants to defend and guard the woman he loves. He does not care weather she is Saudi or not. He will protect her from other men; he will not let them think less of her. Most Saudi men want to create a family with Saudi woman because they share the same religion and culture. Saudi men are not against Western women, they want to have relations with them and to get to know them. People in Saudi Arabia continue to perceive relations between man and woman as sinful and shameful, unless they are married. This year was a boom of sales of Valentine’s presents and gifts to men and women in Saudi Arabia. It seems that love conquers all people even in this conservative country. Young men and women secretly give presents to each other. Young lovers have chosen difficult path, because Saudi Arabia is a highly conservative country. Love in Saudi Arabia is shameful and associated with sin. Saudi people reject even pure love. This attitude to love creates a wall between both sexes. When the young woman goes somewhere, someone should accompany her, to prevent contacts with men.
In the U.S young people are not afraid to show their affection, passion and love. It is not forbidden to have sexual relationship before marriage; society is not biased against it. Before marriage men and women usually have some experience in love relations. Men and women may have free relations without being intended to marry each other. American young people consider love as joy, satisfaction, ability to know the opposite sex, find peace, second half, or a soul mate. People in America think that one cannot find his/her second half without socializing with different people of opposite sex, hanging out together, and dating. Some people may live with each other for some time before marriage. People should know each other in everyday life, to know if they can share their life with this particular person (Seabright 78). In the U.S people think of marriage as a union of souls. People are inclined to be honest with their partners.
Approach to marriage is different in Saudi Arabia and the U.S. People in Saudi Arabia are often afraid to reveal their true feelings to each other. Men reject their potential partner, who lost virginity, because society perceives virginity as highly important. Parents want their daughter to get married when she is twelve or thirteen years old. Parents are afraid that their daughters will fall in love and besmear their dignity and reputation (Yackley-Franken 245). This is the reason why parents push their daughters to get married at a very young age. International Center for Research stated that Saudi Arabia is the twelfth out of twenty countries with early wedlock. The thing is that a twelve-year-old girl may be pushed to marry an old man. Society does not care that the young girl is not ready to get married and carry a baby. Many young girls die while giving birth to a child. This tragedy happens because of young marriages that are common in Saudi Arabia.
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The age of marriage in the United States differs in every state. The average age of the first marriage for men in the U.S is twenty nine, for women twenty seven. Men and women chose their partners by themselves without parent’s interruption (Seabright 230). They build their careers first and achieve some social position. People decide to get marry when they are ready to be responsible for their family, one another and their children.
Education is special phenomenon for girls and boys in Saudi Arabia and the U.S. In Saudi Arabia poor parents first try to give education to their sons, because girls are not intended to work. It is a burden to economy, because one part of population is not working. Parents’ belief that marriage protects girls more than education is wrong, because such a belief causes high illiteracy among Saudi women (Yackley-Franken 145). Government tried to set the minimum age for women to be allowed to get marry, but this plan failed, because Islam is against it. Girls are forbidden to talk with male strangers, except for shop assistants. Also, they are allowed to ask a man for direction. In Saudi Arabia, there are segregate schools for girls and segregate rooms in public places. There are mixed universities, but public education establishments are separated. Public schools have separate rooms and facilities for both sexes starting from primary school. Boys and girls should not meet each other, socialize at school; they should be concentrated on getting knowledge. In kindergartens children of both sexes are together. Only women are allowed to enter female school, so only mother may pick up her daughter. The same thing with male schools, only men can come there.
Men and women have equal rights for education in the U.S. There are separated schools for boys and girls, but public schools are mostly mixed. Boys and girls study together; it helps them know each other better, to understand each other’s psychology and behavior. Illiteracy is not a big problem in the U.S, because secondary education is compulsory for both sexes (Seabright 87). Men and women are eager to be successful in their lives, get higher education, and be competitive in the job market. Women do not treat family as their main career as Saudi women do. They want to fulfill all their potential. That is why the U.S is developing at an ever increasing pace. Both men and women work, providing their country with products and services.
Entertainment in Saudi Arabia differs from entertainment in the U.S. In Saudi Arabia there are women-only gyms, shopping centers and travel agencies. It is very popular among men and women to hang out at home. They organize parties, listen to music and enjoy friendly company, boys and girls separately. Mall is a very popular place among teens to go «numbering». It means that boys and girls exchange phone numbers and call each other to flirt. Nowadays Saudi girls and boys may watch local TV, but young people do not like conservative programs, a lot of families own satellites, so young people may watch films and programs from all over the world. Saudi Arabia is a beach country, young men and women spend time there. Women are allowed to spend time at the beach only in their long abayas. There should be no boys nearby. Camel and horse races are the most popular sports in Saudi Arabia among girls and boys.
Young people in America spend their free time with interest. They like clubbing. Such sports as football, volleyball, and swimming are among their interests. Most people try to lead a healthy lifestyle that is why jogging in the morning is popular activity among people of different ages. Boys and girls like to have a rest at the beaches, lying under the sun, playing beach volleyball, swimming, and surfing. Women wear open swimsuits. Men and women can rest there together. Girls in the U.S are eager to look like movie stars that is why they attend beauty centers and gyms. Gyms are usually common for girls and boys. Yoga and Pilates are very popular trends among young people in the U.S. They struggle to live a long life, to become centenarian (Seabright 211). It is possible only for those, who live a healthy life. In the U.S there are people who do not care about their health. For such people TV is the best entertainment. Everyone in the U.S owns a satellite. Watching TV shows is very popular, these shows give people the feeling that they participate in social life seating in front of their TV sets.
People in Saudi Arabia prefer traditional garment to Western clothing. Traditional Arabic loose clothes are very suitable for hot climate and reflect Islamic ideal of simplicity. Men wear long shirt of cotton. It is called thawb. On the head they wear ghutra. They also wear bisht, it is outer manteau. In can be used as a blanket. Women wear abaya, it resembles dress. They have everyday black abaya, also they can wear colorful abaya on holidays. On their heads they wear a shaula. It is a scarf, usually decorated with coins and jewelry. Some women wear veils. It used to protect their faces from wind and sand in the past, because Saudi Arabia is a desert country.
In the U.S people are less traditional, so they wear different clothes. Among women it is very popular to wear casual dresses, jeans and T-shirts. At work they wear costumes, elegant blouses and skirts. Men wear casual in their daily life: jeans, T-shirts. At work they wear smart suits. There are no traditional clothes in the U.S, people wear modern style.
There are more differences than similarities between girls and boys in Saudi Arabia and the U.S. The main differences are in attitude to love, education, clothing and marriage. These countries are far away from each other geographically and culturally. In the Saudi Arabia Islam is the main religion which decides the way of life and relations in the country. The most vivid feature of Muslim country is strong family relations, man and woman may have only relative relations. In the U.S relations between man and women are more relaxed. Men and women have a lot of activities to do in their free time in Saudi Arabia and the U.S.