Why wearing a mini-skirt can get you arrested in Saudi Arabia

2017-07-21 15:15 - Ishani Chetty
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Cape Town - A Saudi Arabian woman wearing a miniskirt and crop-top in public in Saudi Arabia, has sparked an online debate about acceptable dress code and respect. 

The video was posted on Snapchat and it created a public outcry as she had gone against the city's conservative dress code and was subsequently arrested. 

Pushing the boundaries

The Saudi woman proceeded to post a video of her walking through a historical village that is North of Riyadh, Ushayqir - the main capital of Saudi Arabia. The video went viral and created an uproar for her to be punished as the public stated that what she did was against the conservative Islamic dress code. 

SEE: Saudi Woman in a miniskirt video arrested after public outcry

The woman was previously involved in resistance against the law in Saudi Arabia that does not permit women to drive. Her resistance towards the social norms of Saudi have not gone unnoticed by the authorities. Social media have labelled the Saudi woman as 'Khulood, a model' but authorities have not released a statement on her identity. 

State television within Saudi states that the police reported that her clothing was "suggestive". The strict laws in Saudi Arabia state that a woman must be covered in public and this is elaborated as they must wear loose-fit clothing known as an abaya - which is not applicable to foreigners.

The woman concerned was also showing her hair and this goes against the strict rules for women in Saudi Arabia


'Khulood' was arrested after the public demanded that she be punished for her behavior. She was later released on 18 July without being charged.

During her detainment the religious police of Saudi Arabia questioned her. According to CNN, "The viral videos were published by an account attributed to her without her knowledge" furthermore the case will be referred to the general prosecution department of Riyadh. 

There have been mixed reactions on social media about the action taken against the woman, and for her action in defiance to the state laws.

On social media worldwide, a twitter hashtag in Arabic went viral - it is directly translated to mean 'The trial of the model Khulood is a must'. Many people used this hashtag to vent their frustrations on the action that was taken against Khulood. 

Whilst contrasting views were posed against her actions and called for it to be addressed by the authorities. 

SEE: Solo Female Traveller in India: Explores gender inequalities 

What locals have to say...

A local Muslim woman, Nabilah Rahaman (name changed to protect identity) provides her opinion on the way in which the matter was handled and her thoughts on 'Khulood's' behavior, saying "I understand that she is trying to change women's rights, but living within an Islamic country there is an Islamic law that one must follow."

She continues to say "women not being allowed to drive has nothing to do with religion" - this being an example of what is considered to be  the "oppression Islamic women of Saudi face".

"Although 'Khulood' was standing against the system of patriarchy, the way in which she went about it was incorrect," says Nabilah who further adds "living in a country by the stated constitution is law and must be obeyed".

Elaborating on the fact that 'Khulood' is attempting to change the patriarchy that is upheld in Saudi Arabia and that she is seen in society as an active feminist, there is an understanding of the need to push the boundaries of society - but this must be done in accordance to laws that need to be followed.

SEE: International Women's  Day: SA women are doing it for themselves 

Women all over the world are struggling with oppression and inequality - it is something that needs to be addressed globally. However when visiting any countries with strict religious rules, it is always advisable to respect the customs.

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