Saudi Arabia is indeed a conservative society when it comes to women. Women here are not allowed to drive cars as they cannot hold a driving license. Women here cannot dress as they want; they are to cover themselves properly. In public, a woman shall be wearing an abaya. An abaya is a loose garment which is worn by females here so that they are covered properly. The Abaya and driving rule applies to Saudi as well as foreign women irrespective of their religion. In Saudi Arabia, the huge billboards have men all over them. If a female oriented product is to be marketed, either the women face is blurred or is cropped off. [irp]
In a society like this, a young girl became headlines when a video of her went viral on the social media. The lady, who is identified as Kholoud was arrested as she was seen wearing a miniskirt. The 27 years old model was filmed wearing a highly immodest dress (according to Saudi culture). She had contrasted her miniskirt with a sleeves crop top. She was seen at the historical sites and the red sea of Saudi Arabia. Her video made quite a buzz in social media and thereby within hours, the police became active. The girl was arrested because of her liberal dressing. The Ministry of Culture and Information and the Riyadh Police revealed that the girl is a model. The news of her arrest became international. A woman arrested because she went in Public wearing a miniskirt in Saudi Arabia! The matter got serious.
However, the woman after several hours of the investigation was released. The claims are that no charge was levied on her, she was set free without the imposition of any fine. The model told that the video was uploaded on the social media without her consent. Her quick release and the fact that she hasn’t been charged assures that there was international pressure. Of course, the news was in the international media and the authorities knew that the international press was looking into the case as well. So if the girl was charged, it would have portrayed a very negative image of Saudi Arabia.
While some are applauding and cheering that this is a step towards women rights, some have heavily criticized it. Even when the video was uploaded, people bashed at the girl saying that she has dressed immodestly and should not have come into the public like this. She has violated the Kingdom’s cultural, traditional and religious norms. While others view that it is her choice and she has the right to do what she wants as long as she is not imposing any harm to others.[irp]
Whatever the views be, several questions have arisen: can Saudi women now dress the way they want? If this woman is not charged, have we opened up a new trend for Saudi women? Can we now see Saudi women dressed “Immodestly” in public?
Source: Arab News