Here in KSA there aren’t very many womans magazines in English, not surprising given that most magazines for women published outside of the Gulf wouldn’t make it to KSA anyway and those that do are usually magazines relating to parenting, being a mom, cooking, house decorating and incredibly enough…People magazine. yes I’ve seen People on several bookstore shelves!!! There is no Vogue, no Marie Claire and definitely no Cosmo. Not that I mind, I rarely read those magazines anyway. I preferred Azizah magazine or the Iranian Mahjubah., although I would occasionally purchase the huge fall issue of Vogue just to be up on the latest trends. Here if you want to read a general womans magazine in English you can find…Saudi designed Dazzle, English Sayidaty also produced here and UAE produced Arabian Woman.
Dazzle is geared towards the well-educated, English speaking Saudi woman and hence has features of interest to Saudi women like the latest ‘Abayah and Jalabeeyah trends, popular makeup trends and “issues” of the personal or cultural nature that Saudi women can relate too. Interestingly enough there is also a section about Cars…??!!
Arabian Woman is written for the educated, English speaking GCC women. It’s produced in the UAE…I think Dubai and is much like Dazzle only sans ‘Abayah trends with a lot more information about ultra-lux fashion and makeup. There is some news and cultural articles and tidbits with a bit of Islam-related information.
Here is this months copy…the cover woman is Dubai fashionist; Sarah Belhasa.
Then there is Sayidaty in English. This magazine reminds me of a very fluff-filled Marie Claire or Cosmo…the current issue was really disappointing and is not really worth the 10riyals (imho). It’s aricles of importance were surprisingly sparse and with very little content. For example the article about Indonesian maid abuse in Malaysia was a page and a half! Yet they devoted 3-4 pages to some stuff I care not to share! I’d have rather had more info about the Indonesian maid abuse than the other none-sense they wasted 3-4 pages on!
Secondly, there is some derogatory use of the hejab as “veil” and in several places it’s made to seem like women who cover are backwards. The article about Jordanian women who emulate their young queen are really hip,well educated and are progressive (in the western sense) and definetly are not “veiled”. Okay so like what does wearing hejab have to do with being…apparently, uphip and unprogressive? So are all muhajabat in Jordan backwards or something?I doubt it. This magazine is so strange, particularly because this magazine is published here in KSA! I assume this magazine is geared towards your average western Expat. There isn’t much of anything relating to the Gulf, local culture or Islam.
I think I prefer spending my riyals on the awesome Islamic books which are everywhere here…but should I ever want to pick up a magazine for some light reading, I’d first choose Dazzle and then Arabian Woman. I was seriously disappointed with English Sayidaty and would rather keep those 10riyals for something else.