The Saudi Arabian rebel female Mashael al-Jaloud dares to enter a Central Riyadh mall without the traditional all-black robe ‘Abaya’!

The Saudi Arabian rebel female Mashael al-Jaloud dares to enter a Central Riyadh mall without the traditional all-black robe ‘Abaya’!

This courageous ‘rebel’ woman of Saudi Arabia is a celebrity of the recent era. She is Mashael al-Jaloud stepped out of her home and strutted through a Riyadh Mall without the traditional all-black over garment calked abaya.

Abaya was mandatory to wear for all females in the ultra-conservative Islamic kingdom of Saudi Arabia. But a new wave of liberalization is sweeping the kingdom under the leadership of the new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Mashael al-Jaloud goes abaya-free

Mashael al-Jaloud is 33 and a human resources specialist. She decided to ditch the traditional Abaya and walked into the Riyadh Mall in Western clothes. It was a stunning sight and shocked those around her in the mall.

No woman in the ultra-conservative society of Saudi Arabia had before this dared to defy the unwritten mandatory rule of putting Abaya when in public. But Mashael al-Jaloud decided to revolt against the age-old custom.

Mashael al-Jaloud goes in Western clothes without an abaya to a mall in Riyadh (Source: Daily Mail)

This week, Mashael al-Jaloud stepped out of her home and strolled into a mall in Central Riyadh wearing only a burnt orange top paired with baggy trousers.

There were audible gasps from the onlookers. Some people arched their eyebrows. She was the only female there without covering herself head-to-toe. Some thought that she might be a celebrity. Hence one woman asked her:

“Are you famous?”

“Are you a model?”

Mashael replied in the negative adding that she was just a normal Saudi Arabian woman like them. She knows the potential consequences of her courageous step but she is ready to face it. She said:

There are no clear laws, no protection. I might be at risk, might be subjected to assault from religious fanatics because I am without an abaya,”

Mashael added:

“Abaya is not linked to religion”.

“If it was, Saudi women wouldn’t take them off when they go outside the kingdom,”

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Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman and his liberal views

In an interview with CBS, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman had hinted that the strict dress code for women in public can be relaxed. He had said that the Abaya was not mandatory in the Islamic religion. But despite these comments on a TV channel, there was no formal edict after that.

Mashael al-Jaloud is seen in central Riyadh Mall without her abaya (Source: Metro UK)

Mohammed bin Salman is for the liberalization of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian women have also started driving and can now move around in public without a chaperone. They can even travel without male consent.

Social media and the rebellion of Saudi women

After the CBS interview, several women posted protests against the dress restrictions on social media. Some as a mark of protest uploaded pictures of themselves wearing the robe inside out.

Some started keeping their robes in front of the public so that their inner stylish dress could be seen. And some rebel women also began wearing brightly-colored abayas. And now Mashael took this revolution to the streets by totally doing away with the black robe.

There are a handful of young Saudi women who are boldly pushing for this dress change. But will this push outstrip the monarchy’s capacity to accommodate the change in society?

A rebel Saudi woman goes without an abaya in public (Source: press from)

Manahel al-Otaibi, 25 also no more wears the robe in public. She said:

“For four months I have been living in Riyadh without an abaya,”

“I just want to live the way I want, freely and without restrictions. No one should force me to wear something I don’t want.”

Some malls in Saudi Arabia have stopped entry to women without Abaya, but these bold women are not discouraged.

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Source: Daily Mail

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