This paper looks at the phenomenon of ‘gender backlash’ currently taking place in Saudi Arabia and investigates why some Saudis consistently oppose the notion of gender equality and other concepts developed together with the history of feminisms. It is especially noteworthy because it is happening where various efforts are made to increase awareness on gender equality and to fulfill the demand for gender mainstreaming globally. This paper seeks to map out the dynamic of this backlash in the context of globalization. Discourses objecting to gender equality are being produced in a contradictive way. On the one hand they defend women’s rights, yet on the other, they doubt and contest the righteousness of the notions of gender equality, gender empowerment, and consequently the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). This process of discourse production which revolves around de-“Westernization” includes speaking out for themselves and creating their own narratives to construct their own gendered power relations based on their own interpretations of Islam. Through discourse analysis and fieldwork research, this paper explores why and how it is happening in the midst of the era of globalization where vast amount of information is available via satellite television and the Internet.
|Keywords:||Gender, Saudi Arabia, Globalization, Anti-globalization, Identity, Counter-othering, Authenticity|
Research Fellow (PD), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Kobe University, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan
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