PRINCESS – A Shocking Expose of Misogyny Within Saudi Arabia

Princess was the first book that I’d read on the, shall we say, unusual treatment of women in Saudi Arabia. This led me to read other books on the subject which dealt with women’s precarious place in other Muslim countries as well.


The story of Princess Sultana (a pseudonym) was written by Jean Sasson a twelve year resident of Saudi Arabia. It is the story of an anonymous Saudi Princess who grew up in a Saudi palace, her sisters, servants, friends and other unfortunate women she had heard about. Some have debated the veracity of the book but many things as I have outlined in my conclusion cannot be denied.

Princess Sultana was born into a Royal Saudi family of ten daughters and one pampered son. She was too feisty for her own good and managed to often manifest the displeasure of her father. Some of the things she did wrong were taking her toys back from her bratty, can do no wrong , brother and then trying to explain her side of things when she got in trouble, but as she and her sisters got older things became even more suppressive.

Supposedly an honor and a sign of adulthood, Sultana was forced to veil as punishment for standing up for herself a couple years before menses. She was saved from female circumcision, which her four oldest sisters endured when a foreign tutor intervened. Sultana goes on to describe how her favorite sister, Sara, was betrothed at sixteen to a man forty-six years older. Within five weeks Sara almost committed suicide due to her aged husbands sadistic and brutal sexual practices.

Sasson goes on to describe many practices and laws in Saudi Arabia that would make a westerner blanch, including the summary execution of a thirteen year old girl for fornication, who was most likely raped, a young girl drowned in the family swimming pool by her father for kissing a boy and girls who had been forced to marry as young as twelve, having four and five children before their eighteenth birthday.

Jean Sasson weaves a very interesting story. Her writing is easy to follow and extremely readable. The incidents she describe tend to stay in your mind for a long time and may cause indignation in the reader. She accomplishes a fairly good character development of Princess Sultana and other family members.

The book itself is 254 easy reading pages long and also contains four appendixes, The Koran and Women, The Laws of Saudi Arabia, a glossary on Arab terms and a Chronology of Key Events in Saudi History, all located in back. In addition there is a map of Saudi Arabia, the surrounding area, with facts on Saudi Arabia and the surrounding countries and a family tree of the House of Saud in the front of the book.


The conclusion I took from all the books I have read so far on the subject is, that while some, maybe even most, women in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries may be well treated, the underlying groundwork is there for the mistreatment, even killing of women.

It is hard not to notice than Muslims take exception to this and similar publications. They would like us to believe the conditions and incidents that take place in these books are fantasy and maybe they believe they are, but the undeniable facts that lie within, lend credibility to everything within the books.

I ask these people. Can women drive in Saudi Arabia? Are there modesty police? Can a woman get in trouble for not wearing a head covering, a veil, letting hair show, letting skin show? Has any women ever been executed for adultery? Have young women ever been killed by family members in honor killings? Can a Saudi man divorce his wife by saying I divorce you three times? Can a wife own property? Does a woman need three witnesses to report a rape? Can a Muslim man have multiple wives? Is a Saudi woman’s testimony worth only half of a man’s? Are many if not most of Saudi women’s husbands chosen by their father? Are Saudi women encouraged or even allowed to get an education? Can a Saudi women work in any field she chooses? Can a Saudi woman walk the streets unescorted? Can a Saudi woman date?

To be sure, women historically have had trouble in almost all societies but the second class citizenship that seems endemic in Saudi Arabia and several other Muslim countries is systemic and deeply rooted.

January 19, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . execution, Islam, misogyny, Overzealous, review, Saudi Arabia, Sharia, Sunni, Wahabism, women. 31 comments.

Too Much Clout for Iowa (and New Hampshire)! Too much Power for Evengelicals!

Am I mad. You bet I am. Every four years, two people get nominated to run for President of our fair country–all fifty states. Do I have any say in who gets nominated? Hell No! Do you have any say in who gets nominated? Not unless you live in Iowa or New Hampshire or possibly South Carolina. That’s right. The caucuses and primaries in two, sometimes three, rarely four under populated, relatively insignificant states, for better or worse (usually worse) always choose our candidates for president. The other ninety-seven percent of the population can go to hell.

Now, if you happen to live in one of the three or four deciding states, please don’t take what I say personal, you lucky dogs. I personally think the time for a national primary has arrived, but assuming things aren’t going to change, you people have an obligation to choose the best candidate for the rest of the country and frankly you haven’t. In hindsight one could argue that in 2000 and 2004 you gave us the worst candidate and Iowa, in 2008 you may have done it again. Mike (Huckster) Huckabee?

Ahhh. The Evangelicals. I’m about to ruffle some feathers here. It never ceases to amaze me how selfish this group can be. To the detriment of everything else their main concern always seems to be social issues. They got their man in 2000/2004 and look what it got us, two wars (one unprovoked and unwarranted), two trillion in additional debt, three, soon to be four dollar a gallon gas, disdain around the world, tax relief for the rich and an epidemic of corporate greed and fraud to name a few.

To the Evangelicals, think about it. Do social issues have anything to do with prosecuting a war, dealing with national emergencies, dealing with our former friends and enemies overseas, dealing with the energy crisis, curbing our national debt, providing affordable health care, or dealing with terrorists?

Mike (Huckster) Huckabee? The only candidate that has stated he believes in creation. Forget billions of years of sedimentary and fossil evidence. Forget Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons. For this man, the earth and life upon it began seven thousand years ago. (sometime after the first pyramid was built.)

Yes, Mike Huckabee is likable and charismatic, but I think we’ve learned that charisma doesn’t run a smooth government. The man was an apprentice to Jerry Falwell. He was a preacher for chrissake. Evangelicals, if you want to be taken seriously, go do some good in the world and stop trying to shove your religion down my throat.

January 4, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . candidate, ethics, Evangelicals, fairness, George W. Bush, lobbists, overated, Overzealous, politicians, politics, President, President Bush, primary, pro life, science, Terrorism. Leave a comment.