By Julius Oyekunle
Saudi authorities are investigating a video of a young woman that appeared online where she is seen wearing miniskirt and crop-top in public. Many on social media praised her bravery for confronting the rigid dress code of the conservative Muslim country. It is against the Sharia for women to wear clothing that exposes their hands and legs or without covering their hair. Women in Saudi Arabia must wear loose-fitting, full-length robes known as “abayas” and must cover her head. Women are also not allowed to drive and must be accompanied by men who are only their relatives.
The video was shared via Snapchat as the young woman was seen walking on an empty street of Ushayqir, a village north of the capital Riyadh in the Najd province. Many Saudis were divided on the action on Twitter, which is evident that there are quite a handful of Saudis who may not be favourably disposed of with the Wahhabist doctrine that has relegated women for centuries.
Some based their argument on the fact that in France, full-scale niqab is banned and women are fined if they wear it. They noted that the country’s law must be respected. Others particularly focused on her skirts as immodest and unworthy and called for her to be punished.
Some argued that if the woman had been a foreigner, people would have focused on her beauty, making reference to the visit by U.S. president, Donald J.Trump and his wife Melania where the First Lady and Ivanka chose not to wear abayas or headscarves during the visit in May. Local authorities have claimed to have been aware of the video and will take decisive action. Such acts are punishable by flogging in public in a country where capital punishment is still the norm.