It's much more complex than oil or patriarchy. What we call "patriarchy" is just a form of power that privileges men and allows them more freedoms and rights than women. Rome, Greece, Japan, India, the USA, Canada and Europe all before WW2 (and the need for women to "man" industrial machines for wartime production which was a major catalyst for women to continue the push for gender parity) etc. are all versions of patriarchal societies.
Not all societies (not even close to 1% let alone 100% historically) practiced patriarchy. Not even northern European societies (which for a period of time were just as oppressively patriarchal as Saudi Arabia) prior to Roman colonization; they tended to be much more egalitarian with much less sanctions against women expanding their interests outside of the so-called "domestic sphere".
Roman men were notoriously patriarchal for a mix of pseudo-scientific, religious and political reasons. Aristotle wrote that women were inferior men, that because they did not get enough heat during gestation they were failed males. He was basing this on observations of certain lizard and serpent species which determine sex based on in vitro temperature.
Men were considered the ideal human specimen and everything about Roman culture reflected this belief.
If we compare Saudi Arabia's history of patriarchy to that of the west, it would not be very different, really, until a certain point in history. The west and SA have many of the same external characteristics: religion, hierarchy, warlike tendencies, rigid social boundaries (e.g. European class system) .
The west diverged sometime after the middle ages in a very different trajectory. The result of this trajectory is the development of the notion of human rights for everyone regardless of sex in the western context. SA hasn't had that similar kind of development. Why?
Region, industrial and scientific revolutions, the western move toward secularization and the separation of church and state, a crucial development which the US is the only nation in recorded history to have codified.
We can see well-defined historical catalysts in US (and European, excepting the eastern European states) history: Magna Carta, treaty of Versailles, Cromwell's revolution, the American revolution, abolition, suffragism, etc. All social phenoms that have NEVER happened in Saudi history.
Essentially, all of these factors (Hegel's proposition) allowed for a loosening of the hierarchical and rigid social boundaries. personal lived experiences of male soldiers in the field in WW1 being saved by women nurses/medics, the allies war machine being driven by women workers, the leveling of the social field through the various legal statements made in the USA about equality etc. the loosening of the class caste system.
Again, SA has never had that, it is essentially stuck in a primitive power mode that organizes itself around male dominance and oppressive masculinity because it has never had the lived experience of seeing women live up to their potential through social conflict. It's like the needle is stuck in a scratched groove.
I'm a man, and I do not personally understand what it is some guys get from dominating women. It's not a very fair fight to begin with (I'm 6'5", 280) so it's not really something to take pride in.....the only thing that makes sense is that in patriarchal societies sons are really important.
Lineage and male ego around producing male heirs (again Greek and Roman societies also had this and its influence is still felt in western cultures) is a super big deal. Cuckolding is an equally big deal, what man in such a context could handle
- being cheated on by his wife,
- be insecure about whether or not his son was actually his?
I imagine #2 would be crucial to men in SA society. How else can you control a woman if you can't control her heart? You have to control her body and limit her choices, so that your insecurity is quelled. Because of this, I see SA men as very weak, very insecure and immature and their own traditions perpetuate that insecurity and weakness.
Also, I think it is of interesting note that prior to Islam many Arab cultures had the common practice of sodomy on boys and adolescent males just as Greeks and Romans did. Penis in anus = ultimate form of male dominating another male.