Female Struggle

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Zipping through the tiled halls, I glance back and grin. I grab her hand, and we soar through an arch of fluorescent-lit stores, gliding past stands selling cheap accessories in our clunky rollerblades. We stop, resting our feet, and scope out our audience. A sea of cloaked figures shuffles around us, giving us the occasional glare or smirk. A few of them jeer at us, but we’re used to it, and they’re easy enough to ignore. All of the women including us wear black from head to toe, some of them even covering their faces. The only visible skin belongs to men—and the occasional child—who shuffle in white traditional robes while their hooded wives trail behind. “Zaira,” I call, “let’s go again!” She nods, and we speed up, skating our way through the black and white maze.

After watching children skate through the Dhahran Mall in Saudi Arabia the previous week, we decided to do the same, so we boarded the bus to the mall that afternoon after prayer ended, carrying rollerblades. We slow down at a toy store, staring at the bright display. I hear a grunt and spin around, finding a curious Saudi ten feet away. He appears to be in his twenties, and his most distinguishable feature is a large single eyebrow. “You have Instagram?” he asks...

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