Young Saudi girl sparks hot debate in Saudi Arabia after her mini skirt video went viral
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News Analysis |

A young Saudi girl became a recent online sensation when she sparked a heated debate between the orthodox and liberal mindsets after her video in mini skirt went viral on the social media landscape of Saudi Arabia.

It is quite evident that the girl had posted the video herself on her Snapchat, which shows her walking around an empty historic fort in Ushaiager, a village north of the capital, Riyadh, in the desert region of Najd, where many of Saudi Arabia’s most conservative tribes and families live.

Competing trends too emerged on twitter by the respective groups of opponents and supporters.

At the time when she drew fire from the conservative groups demanding her arrest for violating the prescribed dress code for women, many of the liberals assembled on social media in her defense asserting that freedom of dress should not be a crime.  Competing trends too emerged on twitter by the respective groups of opponents and supporters.

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Liberals were also of the view that had the women been a foreigner, she would have been praised for her beauty rather than denounced for her courage to openly challenge the regime’s law.

While hardliners were rigid on their stance to punish her, liberals quoted the examples of First Lady Melania Trump and First Daughter Ivanka Trump as to how women can play a role in society. Liberals were also of the view that had the women been a foreigner, she would have been praised for her beauty rather than denounced for her courage to openly challenge the regime’s law.

However, a prominent Saudi writer Ibrahim Al Munayf, was of the view that allowing people to disobey the law would lead to chaos which he expressed on his official Twitter account. “Just like we call on people to respect the laws of countries they travel to, people must also respect the laws of this country,”

According to many sources, officials in Ushaiager called on the region’s governor and police to take action against the woman. Also, it was found that kingdom’s morality police has contacted other agencies to investigate the matter further. The reasons for this deliberate act by the woman are still unknown, but it can be assumed that it is allegedly a move in the perpetual wave by Saudis to challenge the repressive rule.

Popularity of Internet

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The news of women driving the car also became viral and sparked the same debate. The transgressor was the women’s right activist Aziza Al-Youssef, who was arrested in 2013 for deliberately breaking the country’s ban on women driving.

The cases of youth especially young women challenging the present conservative traditions are now becoming more recurrent in the Kingdom. Similarly, the news of a woman driving a car also became viral and sparked the same debate. The transgressor was the women’s right activist Aziza Al-Youssef, who was arrested in 2013 for deliberately breaking the country’s ban on women driving.

The urge to break the laws is dictated by the current demographics of Saudi’s population, which shows that more than half of the population is young, and below the age of 25. Also, this same population has emerged as the most open and aggressive user of Internet; the flowing modernism is pushing the locked doors to open for liberalism towards secularization.

Despite the conservative practices of the  State, the statistics by the end of last year showed that more than 60% of the total population is using the Internet. Saudi Arabia is a home to more than 40% of all the active Twitter users and accounts for 10% of the total Facebook users in the Arab Region.

Feminism and the Modern Saudi Arabia

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The relaxation in law was brought after the online petition signed by 14,000 people calling for an end to the restrictive law, initiated by the same activist Aziza Al-Youssef.

The recent relaxation in the guardianship laws for women by the then King Salman. The issuance of an order to access and benefit from government services such as education and healthcare without needing their male guardian’s consent is conceived as a direct result of years of struggle by Saudi Feminists. The relaxation in law was brought after the online petition signed by 14,000 people calling for an end to the restrictive law, initiated by the same activist Aziza Al-Youssef.

In December 2015, women of Saudi Arabia secured for the first time their right to vote and an end to the ban of Girls exercising in schools. The ardent group of feminists is determined to continue their movement.

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