The haircut — identified domestically by the English phrase “boy” — has change into strikingly seen on the streets of the capital, and never simply because girls are not required to put on hijab headscarves beneath social reforms pushed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler.
As extra girls be part of the workforce, a central plank of presidency efforts to remake the Saudi economic system, many describe the “boy” lower as a sensible, skilled different to the longer kinds they may have most well-liked of their pre-working days.
For Safi, who requested to be recognized by a pseudonym to protect her anonymity, the look additionally serves as a type of safety from undesirable male consideration, permitting her to deal with her sufferers. “Folks prefer to see femininity in a girl’s look,” she stated. “This fashion is sort of a protect that protects me from individuals and provides me power.“
An growing function within the Kingdom’s economic system
At one salon in central Riyadh, demand for the “boy” lower has spiked — with seven or eight prospects out of 30 requesting it on any given day, stated Lamis, a hairdresser. “This look has change into very fashionable now,” she stated. “The demand for it has elevated, particularly after girls entered the labour market. The truth that many ladies don’t put on the hijab has highlighted its unfold” whereas spurring much more prospects to attempt it out, particularly girls of their late teenagers and twenties,” she stated.
The lifting of the scarf requirement is only one of many modifications which have reordered every day life for Saudi girls beneath Prince Mohammed, who was named because the inheritor to his 86-year-old father, King Salman, 5 years in the past. Saudi girls are not banned from concert events and sports activities occasions, and in 2018 they gained the best to drive. The dominion has additionally eased so-called guardianship guidelines, which means girls can now get hold of passports and journey overseas with out a male family member’s permission.
Such reforms, nonetheless, have been accompanied by a crackdown on girls’s rights activists, a part of a broader marketing campaign towards dissent.
Getting extra girls to work is a serious part of Prince Mohammed’s Imaginative and prescient 2030 reform plan to make Saudi Arabia much less depending on oil. The plan initially known as for ladies to account for 30 p.c of the workforce by the tip of the last decade, however already that determine has reached 36 p.c, assistant tourism minister Princess Haifa Al-Saud advised the World Financial Discussion board in Davos final month.
“We see girls at this time in each single job sort,” Princess Haifa stated, noting that 42 p.c of small and medium-sized enterprises are women-owned.
A sensible time-saver
Many working girls interviewed by AFP praised the “boy” lower as a instrument for navigating their new skilled lives. “I’m a sensible girl and I don’t have time to deal with my hair,” stated Abeer Mohammed, a 41-year-old mom of two who runs a males’s clothes retailer. “My hair is curly, and if my hair grows lengthy, I must spend time that isn’t accessible to me taking good care of it within the morning.“
Saudi Arabia has historically outlawed males who “imitate girls” or put on girls’s clothes, and vice versa. However Rose, a 29-year-old shoe saleswoman at a Riyadh mall, sees her close-cropped hair as a method of asserting her independence from males, not imitating them.
It “offers me power and self-confidence… I really feel totally different, and in a position to do what I would like with out anybody’s guardianship“, stated Rose, who didn’t wish to give her full title. “At first my household rejected the look, however over time they received used to it,” she added.
Such acceptance partly displays the affect of Arab stars like actress Yasmin Raeis or singer Shirene who’ve adopted the fashion, stated Egyptian stylist Mai Galal to AFP.
Nouf, who works in a cosmetics retailer and most well-liked to not give her household title, described the message of the “boy” lower this manner: “We wish to say that we exist, and our function in society doesn’t differ a lot from that of males.” Quick hair, she added, is “a present of girls’s power“.