Saudi women are becoming more active, embracing “boyish” lightness

The “boyish” syllable, known locally as the English word “boy”, is seen more and more on the streets of the capital of this ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom. Some women have even taken off their headscarves, encouraged by the societal changes that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has led in recent years.

Women are called to be more active, within the framework of diversifying and modernizing the economy to make it less dependent on oil. They describe this new trendy cut as more practical.

Safi, who asked to be identified under a pseudonym, points out that this new look is also a way to protect against unwanted male gazes. ” People love to see femininity in a woman “, she points out.” This style is like a shield that protects me from people and gives me strength She explains to AFP.

A growing role in the Kingdom’s economy

In a salon in the center of Riyadh, the “boyish” haircut has gained great popularity Nearly a third of customers Whoever claims so, reassure Lamis, the hairdresser. ” Demand has increased, especially since women entered the labor market She explains to AFP that she does not wish to reveal her last name. ” The fact that many women do not wear the hijab has only increased its popularity ‘, encouraging more customers to try it, especially younger ones, she adds.

L’influence de la police religieuse, qui jadis imposait des règles strictes comme l’obligation de porter le voile, a été largement marginalisée avec l’ascension ces cinq dernières années du prince Mohammed, dirigeant de facto du pays de auj years. Saudi women can now attend concerts or sports competitions alongside men, drive and travel without the permission of a male relative.

However, these reforms have been accompanied by a fierce suppression of dissenting voices, particularly women’s rights activists, in a country that is certainly changing but still considered particularly authoritarian by international NGOs.

The government had initially hoped that women would make up 30% of the labor market by 2030, but the proportion has already reached 36%.Princess Haifa Al-Saud, Deputy Minister of Tourism, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month.

Today we see women in all kinds of jobs She confirmed, noting that 42% of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are owned by women.

Convenient way to save time

Among them is Abeer Mohammed, who describes herself as a pragmatic woman. ” I don’t have time to take care of my hair ‘ said this 41-year-old woman who runs a men’s clothing store. I have curly hair. If I sleep too long, I’ll have to spend so much time that I don’t have it in the morning ‘, explains this mother of two children.

Saudi Arabia traditionally forbids men to “imitate women” or wear women’s clothing, and vice versa. But Rose, 29, a mall shoe salesman, sees her short hair as a way to assert her independence from men, not imitate them.

It gives me strength and self-confidence. I feel different, able to do whatever I want without anyone’s guardianship ‘, the young woman, who did not wish to give her full name, told AFP. At first my family disapproved of this look, but over time they got used to it “, as you say.

This acceptance is also partly due to The influence of Arab starsLike actress Yasmine Rais or singer Sherine, who have adopted this style, Egyptian designer Mai Galal told AFP.

Nouf, who works in a cosmetics store, also sees a “boyish” haircut as a way to assert herself. ” We want to say that we exist, and that our role in society is not much different from that of men She told AFP without mentioning her last name. short hair for her A demonstration of female power “.

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