[Ed. – This was the right thing to do. She represents America, and our culture doesn’t impose on women special rules of modesty that are based on an inferior moral valuation of women. We also believe people have the right to observe their cultural norms: that inhabiting the norms of others is rightfully a choice, and doing or not doing it is situational, as long as you’re willing to live with the consequences. Michelle O. apparently upheld both principles here.]
For first lady Michelle Obama, just a few hours in Saudi Arabia were enough to illustrate the stark limitations under which Saudi women live.
Joining President Barack Obama for a condolence visit after the death of the King Abdullah, Mrs. Obama stepped off of Air Force One wearing long pants and a long, brightly colored jacket — but no headscarf.
Under the kingdom’s strict dress code for women, Saudi females are required to wear a headscarf and loose, black robes in public. Most women in Saudi Arabia cover their hair and face with a veil known as the niqab. But covering one’s head is not required for foreigners, and some Western women choose to forego the headscarf while in Saudi Arabia.
As a delegation of dozens of Saudi officials — all men — greeted the Obamas in Riyadh, some shook hands with Mrs. Obama. Others avoided a handshake but acknowledged the first lady with a nod as they passed by.