Here's an interesting story on a 25 year Saudi author who has written Arabic version of "chick lit". This section is a little surprising:
When her book hits the shelves in Britain this week, western readers will get a peek at what’s going on behind the veils and under the burqas. Disappointingly, the scenes are not too dissimilar to a western hen party: bitching, belly dancing and gossiping about men. The atmosphere seems far from warm and sisterly. Girls obsess about bodies and eye each others’ “front bumpers” and “back bumpers” with envy.
You’d think that one advantage of being forced to cover up in public would be a freedom from a looks-fixated culture. Yet these women want nose jobs, they want liposuction, they want gym-honed booties and are highly competitive with it. In modern Riyadh it seems that hell isn’t other people, hell is other women.
“Women want to look good for themselves, not just for men,” says Alsanea. “All women show off to one another and like wearing designer clothes. I’m not showing a whole new world. In a lot of respects Saudi women are just like everyone else.”