Saudi women liberate themselves by adopting the “childish” trait

Since their arrival in the job market and recent societal changes in the country, women have become more daring to wear the short haircut in Saudi Arabia.

It was an unimaginable hairstyle in Saudi Arabia for women. Now, the short haircut is in vogue in the capital of this ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom. In a salon in central Riyadh, this “boyish” haircut, known locally by the English word “boy”, has met with unprecedented success: nearly a third of clients order it, assuring hairstylist Basem Lamis (who does not wish to reveal his surname) to AFP. The demand has increased, especially since women entered the labor market. She adds that the fact that many of them do not wear the hijab has increased his popularity, “which further encouraged them to adopt this look, especially younger ones.

In fact, the influence of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which once imposed strict rules such as the obligation to wear the hijab, has been largely sidelined since the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the past five years. However, the reforms are 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.

In the video, Kendrick Lamar in Jesus Praying Unflatteringly for Women’s Rights

“This technique is like a shield that gives me strength.”

Thus, women are called to be more active, within the framework of diversifying and modernizing the national economy to make it less dependent on oil. Encouraged by these societal upheavals, Safi, a 26-year-old physician, decided to open her new job in a Riyadh hospital by treating herself to a new hair style. The young Saudi woman went to a hair salon to part with her long wavy hair and a very short haircut, according to AFP.

This style is like a shield that protects me from people and gives me strength.

Safi, 26, Saudi doctor

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 like to see femininity in a woman,” she told AFP, adding: “This style is like a shield that protects me from people and gives me strength.”

Safi, a 26-year-old Saudi doctor, adopts the “boyish” haircut. Is Noureddine / Agence France-Presse

Others highlight the practicality and effort of this cut, such as Abeer Mohammed, who describes herself as a “pragmatic woman.” “I don’t have time to take care of my hair,” the 41-year-old Saudi woman who runs a men’s clothing store told AFP. “My hair is curly. If they grow up for a long time, I will have to devote a lot of time to it, which I do not have in the mornings,” explains this mother of two.

“We want to say we exist”

Traditionally, Saudi Arabia prohibits men from “imitating women” (wearing women’s clothing, for example) and vice versa. For Rose, 29, a shoe salesman in a mall, her short hair is a way to assert her independence from men, and she doesn’t want to look like them. “It gives me strength and self-confidence. I feel different, able to do whatever I want without anyone’s supervision,” the young woman told AFP, who did not want to reveal her full name; “At first my family rejected this look, but over time they got used to it.”

“We want to say that we exist, and that our role in society is not much different from that of men”

Saudi Nouf

A view shared by Nouf, who works in a cosmetics store and who considers this look a way to assert herself: “We want to say that we exist, and that our role in society is not very different from that of men.” She told AFP without giving her last name. For her, short hair is “a testament to the strength of a woman.”

Princess Haifa Al Saud, deputy tourism minister, said at the World Economic Forum from Davos last month that the Saudi government had initially hoped that women would make up 30% of the labor market by 2030, but that percentage has already reached 36%. “Today we see women in all kinds of jobs,” she said, noting that 42% of small and medium-sized enterprises are owned by women.

Trendy hairstyles for summer 2022

Leave a Comment