BBC Trending reports “thousands of Saudi men are trying to drive women off Twitter” by trending an Arabic hashtag which translates as "We don't want girls on Twitter.” It was used more than 400,000 times over the weekend.
However, the hate campaign didn’t succeed, thanks to an overwhelming majority of sensible people – both men and women – who joined in the discussion to denounce and mock the misogynist mindset behind it.
Here are some of the replies:
#مانبي_بنات_في_تويتر Why ! What have we done? 😢😔— ɴαdoѕн ☆ّ (@Crazy_girl_042) January 24, 2015
We might as well vanish to satisfy you :( #مانبي_بنات_في_تويتر— ذِكرى` (@Thekra___) January 24, 2015
#مانبي_بنات_في_تويتر too bad because I don't give a shit what you want.— sυηsнιηє (@LovelessWords) January 24, 2015
we're all talk abt how to fight racism and discrimination against women meanwhile this is trending Funny 😑😑😒. #مانبي_بنات_في_تويتر— Rotten sama (@keyimera) January 24, 2015
Gender segregation has always been a controversial aspect of the Saudi culture. The country even has a separate law enforcement department – known as the morality police – to make sure the sexes are separated in public.
However, under these gender-related restrictions, while men are allowed to wander off pretty much everywhere they like, women have to live under the thumb of their male guardians.
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Although Saudi Arabia has made some minor advances on women’s rights in the past few years – such as lifting the ban on sports for girls at schools, permitting women to run and/or vote in municipal elections in 2015 without male approval and allowing them to travel abroad without male supervision – the Gulf kingdom still has a long way to go.
For instance, the fact that Saudi authorities don’t even allow women to ride bicycles without a male blood relative is even worse than prohibiting them from driving cars.
No wonder the country is frequently voted as one of the top five countries worst for women in the world.