A young woman was arrested Tuesday in the Saudi Arabia capital of Riyadh for wearing “immodest clothes” after a video circulated on social media showing her wearing a miniskirt out in public. The video prompted a backlash and Saudi authorities made the after many complained that the display was a blatant flouting of the kingdom’s strict dress code for women.
The video showing a young woman walking around in public wearing a miniskirt and crop top triggered a huge uproar after it enemerged on social media over the weekend. The videos first surfaced on Snapchat and show the woman walking at a historic site in Ushaiager, a village north of Riyadh, and in Najd, a desert region that’s home to many of Saudi Arabia’s most conservative tribes and families, according to The Associated Press. The miniskirt is hardly the smallest of the variety to ever have been worn, and the woman’s shirt is short enough to show just a trace of skin between its bottom and the top of the skirt. What might seem modest in many places, however, was very controversial in the notoriously conservative kingdom. Videos have since been circulating on Twitter showing the footage.
As has been the case with other women who have posted images or videos of themselves appearing in public without wearing a hijab or abaya, many called for the young woman shown in the video to be arrested. Ibrahim al-Munayif, an influential Saudi writer, criticized the woman in a post on Twitter. “Just like we call on people to respect the laws of countries they travel to, people must also respect the laws of this country,” he wrote, according to the AP.
But there was a substantial number of social media users who defended the woman. One user posted a video with the head of Melania Trump superimposed on the young woman seen in the video. The U.S. first lady, during her husband’s state visit earlier this year, notably declined to wear a hijab or abaya while in the country, as did first daughter Ivanka Trump — a point that was made repeatedly by the woman’s defenders.
Local news reports on the story, rather than show the video as it is, censored the brief footage by using a graphic to completely obscure the body of the young woman. The technique echoed a crude and largely comical attempt by Iranian state TV to Photoshop more clothes onto Charlize Theron in a video clip from this year’s Academy Awards show. According to some of the local news outlets, the AP reported, Saudi Arabia’s morality police force had been coordinating with local officials to investigate the video amid calls from some officials for action to be taken against the woman. Saudi Arabia’s state-run TV network reported on Tuesday that the case would be turned over to the national prosecutor, according to the AP.
For more on the video, and to see the shoddy attempt at censoring the clip, watch the video below.
Read the full story at The Associated Press.