File this under awesome, amazing, and downright courageous: A Saudi woman publicly defied the country's ultra-strict religious police, to stand by her decision to rock a manicure.
The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice — also known as the religious police, or mutaween — are given authority by King Abdullah to patrol the streets looking for men and women engaging in acts that are a moral threat to Islam. This could include everything from eating pork or not wearing the hijab to unlawful sexual behavior.
The mutaween are known for their ultra-strict enforcement of the rules and have come under fire from many human rights groups for their tendency to act in favor of moral law above compassion. Case in point: In 2002, 14 girls perished in a fire after mutaween members hindered rescue workers because they deemed the girls improperly dressed to leave the burning building.
Punishments for disobeying the religious police are usually severe, which is why it's so rare to see someone, especially a Saudi woman, openly and aggressively fight them. Even more rare is the fact that after this incident — essentially, a "vice preventor" took offense to the woman's freshly painted nails and proceeded to follow her around as she shopped at the Hayat Mall in Riyadh, repeatedly telling her she needed to leave — the Saudi Gazette reported that there is an official review of the man's conduct.
Obviously, we have nothing but the utmost respect for the religious views of deeply observant Muslims, but we do find it refreshing, not only to see a Saudi woman speaking out against what she felt was a grave injustice, but also to see the Saudi government respond in favor of the women. Whether any disciplinary action is taken against the mutaween still remains to be seen, but at least it's a step in the right direction. Until then, we salute this courageous badass, whose battle cry still rings in our ears: "I will never leave the mall!" (Gawker)
Photographed by Hailley Howard