T H E N I Q A B I N M O D E R N S A U D I S O C I E T Y
Examining the societal construct of how the Niqab is integrated into Saudi society is a difficult task. The debate whether it is merely traditional cultural attire or a religious obligation has been an ongoing debate for years, depending on the region or religious school preaching. However, we cannot deny that there are many families that are born into this tradition, and many who are not, especially under the backdrop of modern-day metropolitan cities. This is also why pre-arranged marriage fails when the couple at hand are not fully aware of what the other person’s true nature and ideological beliefs are.
Indeed, not all women feel it is a sign of oppression, especially ones who are raised in a rural Bedouin society. This is their cultural identity first and foremost, that, we cannot deny. However, as Saudi Arabia’s modernized metropolitan cities continue to evolve, communities of various subcultural backgrounds intermingle constantly resulting in a clash of traditional and religious codes of behavior which get lost in translation.
This is especially true when men from various subcultural backgrounds become part of the same social circle. The men from backgrounds that live with the Niqab in their family can be quite judgmental towards men who allow their women to reveal their face. Although it usually is a chauvinistic battle, most of the time it is disguised behind religious duty, even though the men in question are far from pious themselves.