This week a video appeared in public on which a Saudi woman is walking around in miniskirt and defying Saudi strict dress code. The video caused outrage on social networks and she is allegedly detained.
State media reported on Tuesday that woman was detained in the city of Riyadh for wearing “immodest clothes” which opposes to the Saudi Islamic dress code. According to the Twitter account of the TV channel al-Ekhbariya, which is ran by state, police referred case to the public prosecutor.
In the video, which first emerged on Snapchat woman can be seen walking around some historic fort in a miniskirt alone. Beside this shot video that went viral, there are some shots of her sitting in the desert. All of this was recorded in the desert region of Najd, which is a region of most conservative tribes.
As a reaction to this video, a hashtag appeared on Twitter that outraged Saudi citizens used to call for her arrest. Most of them agreed that she disobeyed Saudi rules, which say that all women in the state must wear abayas in public, and most women even wear a headscarf and veil over their face.
In Saudi Arabia social media is largely used to gauge public opinion and to take out all the frustration. Although Saudi Arabia is trying to modernize society and has loosen some rules, whole situation around this event just showed how dominant and widespread conservative views are in the country.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has advocated for greater openings for entertainment in part to appease the youth, who are active on social media and can bypass government censors online. More than half of Saudi Arabia’s population is under 25.
The country’s 31-year-old heir to the throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has pushed for greater openings for entertainment in part to satisfy the youth, who are active on social media and can bypass government censors online. Majority of Saudi Arabia’s population is under 25.
It was announced last week by the government that girls will have the right to play sports in public schools and will be able to attend physical education classes. Saudi religion police’s power have also been reduced as they no longer can arrest people. Despite everything, gender segregation still remains , women are still not allowed to drive and they can’t obtain a passport or travel without male’s permission.
After the video was released, some Saudis said that Twitter is being used to out others.
Waheed al-Ghamdi, Saudi writer tweeted that although woman did violate Saudi laws, she did not deserve such a crucifiction as she did not harm others. He wrote: “I am simply questioning the lack of priorities regarding anger and alarm expressed over human rights violations and oppression versus the harmless personal choices of others.”
Her defenders used images of First Lady Melania Trump and her daughter Ivanaka, from President’s visit to Saudi Arabia, when they did not wear abayas or covered their head.
One of most shared tweets regarding this controversy is an image of Ivanka’s face on the face of the Saudi women’s body with caption saying : “Enough already, the situation has been solved.”