Did you know there is a fourth gender?  The United Arab Emirates says so.  An initiative designed to discourage women from acting “too masculine” is called, “Excuse me, I’m a girl.” What’s really going on?  From the C.R.I.M.E. Report,

With the financial downturn battering UAE’s economy, officials seem to have identified a convenient scapegoat. Their vague terminology – “the fourth sex” – is an awkward euphemism for describing any women who do not fit traditional female stereotypes, as well as tomboys, lesbians, and transgender. Since lesbianism is officially considered non-existent in the UAE, the target of the campaign is simply all women with masculine characteristics.

Officials claim the fourth sex is harassing “normal” women in schools and offices, attributing the phenomenon to outside influences, including the different nationalities living in the Emirates and access to foreign media via satellite TV and the Internet. The campaign will review the causes of masculinity among females, educate citizens about the phenomenon and its treatment, and provide families with psychologists to help girls be “repatriated” to femininity.

What happens if they don’t see the Islamic cultural light?  Off to the sexual gulag, maybe.

Other demands for freedom in the Middle East:

In Tunisia, student leaders are on a hunger strike to protest a government decision to throw them out of school.  Why?  For campaigning, nonviolently, for improvements in living and educational standards and more job opportunities.

Saudi women aren’t allowed to drive. Two female students found a way to express their opinions about that by designing T-shirts with an embroidered license plate, the girl’s name, the country and a number on it.  They’re selling well, helped by Facebook.

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