While some things change little by little, Saudi Arabia can be seen going all out when it comes to changing things around in the country. The Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has taken it on himself to shake things up a bit.
From introducing reforms that include allowing concerts, reopening cinemas, promoting cultural & social events to even lifting a prohibition on women driving, the prince definitely hasn’t stopped there.
Saudia Arabia just hosted its first ever female wrestling match yesterday in its capital! Yes, you read that right.
The WWE confirmed that Lacey Evans would battle Natalya in this historical wrestling match. However, due to very strict rules governing the dress code of women in the Middle-Eastern countries both superstars were forced to wear bodysuits that covered their whole arms and legs instead of their usual wrestling attires (that show off way more skin).
The Chief Branding Officer for the WWE, Stephanie McMahon stated that, “We are a global brand in 180 countries and 28 different languages. It’s incredibly important that we are respectful of the cultures where we perform.”
The organizers in question stated that this event attempts to shrug off the ‘ultra-conservative image’ portrayed of the country around the world. Quite a contrast to the traditional values instilled in the region -where the women who are obliged to wear a full on black “abaya”- the WWE match will be seen to raise a few eyebrows, too many.
The bigger picture wasn’t the match in general, but what it represented. Another heartfelt and emotional moment for the evolution of women
Saudi Arabia can be seen boosting entertainment that allows citizens to have fun, in what some see as an attempt to deflect public frustration over an economic downturn and high youth unemployment rates in the region. Although developing the tourism and leisure sector is one of the foundations of the 2030 Vision Plan of the Crown Prince, its main aim is to prepare the largest economy in the Arab world for the post-oil era.
The wrestling match is part of the Riyadh Season, which includes more than 100 entertainment and arts events over two months during the capital’s cooler winter months. How’s that for change!