Saudi blogger opposes relaxing male guardianship, prefers following 'daddy's rules'

Saudi blogger opposes relaxing male guardianship, prefers following 'daddy's rules'
Saudi social media star Afnan al-Batel warned women to respect their fathers by seeking permission to go to the shop.
2 min read
06 August, 2019
Saudi Arabia is relaxing tight restrictions on women [Getty]
Saudi social media star Afnan al-Batel has come under fire after she said she opposes the loosening of male guardian restrictions in the kingdom.

Sitting in the backseat of a car, which was being driven by a male, al-Batel took to Snapchat to rant about how she will refuse to leave the house without her father's permission.

“Lots of people are saying ‘I’ve now got permission from the government, I’m only going to the shops’ – no! You’re still a respectable woman”, she said.

The social media influencer made the comments in light of reports suggesting women will soon be able to travel without a male guardian, as Riyadh continues a drive to adopt a "moderate" state-sanctioned interpretation of Islam.

“Okay, whatever, you’re old enough and 21 and you’re smart and independent but you're still someone’s daughter and remain under the wing of your family.”

Continuing on the example of women going to the supermarket alone and without parental permission, she added: “You can’t take decisions that you’ll soon regret”.

Soon after she uploaded the video, a hashtag emerged which translates to: Afnan al-Batel shut up.

The loosening of restrictions for Saudi women has taken place during a massive crackdown on women's rights activists.

Some of the activists, such as Loujain al-Hathoul, have been reportedly tortured at Saudi prisons.

The reforms are also happening in conjunction with other advances that perpetuate restrictions on women.

In February, the Saudi interior ministry manufactured an application that actually allows male guardians to track female family members via their phones and to prevent them from travelling.

The app is particularly popular with families that fear their female relatives may flee domestic imprisonment and abuse.

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