Meet Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdularahim Shahrkani. She is the inspiration for this new experiment, this new analysis.
A few days ago, exhilarated by the hype of global togetherness, pure competitive spirit and various other warm, fuzzy feelings the Olympics always provoke in me, I encountered this article about Wojdan as I browsed through the latest Olympic headlines. Only a teenager, she is the first female Saudi Arabian athlete ever allowed to participate in the Olympic Games. What an amazing accomplishment for her to have achieved entry onto this global stage and break ground amongst the deep rooted traditions of her culture!
Inspired by her story, I read on. However inspired I was by her story, I was equally disheartened by the comments that followed. Many expressed ignorance of the significance of her participation and disgust for her personal appearance. Almost characteristically, the comments degraded her humanity, but more particularly, her femininity.
I’ve decided I have to respond. For her, for myself. For the sake of my daughters if I will have them. Spurred by her story and my own experiences (particularly in the workplace), I want to look further into the subtle prevailing attitudes towards women. I want to examine my own attitudes, my own choices in light of those attitudes. I want to attempt to understand the vitality inherent in the feminine spirit and develop creative ways to express it.