A young woman is at the center of a controversy about clothing in Saudi Arabia, after she posted videos of herself in one of the nation’s most conservative provinces wearing a short skirt and a cropped top.
Saudi outlets report that local officials are demanding an investigation, with social media users saying the unidentified women should face arrest.
The brief videos, originally posted to the social network Snapchat over the weekend by a popular user named Khulood, show the woman walking through an ancient fort in Ushayqir, a village in Najd province about 95 miles from the capital, Riyadh.
The women wears a skirt that stops above her knees and a top that shows her midriff; her head is also uncovered.
Such an outfit runs afoul of conservative Islamic ideas about women’s dress that are prevalent in Saudi Arabia. The country legally requires women to cover themselves while in public by wearing an abaya, a loose fitting cloak. Traditionally, Saudi women are also expected to wear some kind of hijab or head covering, and some opt to cover their face with a niqab. Although foreigners are usually exempted from such rules and Saudi women themselves often find ways to skirt them, many religiously conservative Saudis feel strongly about them.
Ushayqir appears deserted in the videos, but Khulood’s video soon spread online and quickly drew criticism — with many Saudis using a hashtag that says the woman should face trial for the videos.
Some argued that as the woman lived in Saudi Arabia, she should accept its laws. “Just like we call on people to respect the laws of countries they travel to, people must also respect the laws of this country,” Saudi writer Ibrahim al-Munayif wrote on his Twitter account.