The mere mention of Saudi women tends to invoke images of oppressed women in abayas (black robes), given how they are denied their basic privileges and rights.
However, despite all the hurdles put in place by Saudi Arabia’s patriarchal society, women in the Gulf kingdom are fully capable of breaking their stereotypically submissive image.
And that’s exactly what a new music video, titled “Hwages,” (an Arabic word that roughly translates as “concerns” in English, according to Al-Arabiya), is all about.
The nearly three-minute clip starts off with three niqab-clad women in black abayas getting into a car while a little boy takes the wheel — a gibe at the country’s notorious driving ban on women as well as the guardianship system, according to which women can’t travel without a male guardian.
Later in the video, however, the women can be seen skateboarding, dancing, playing basketball, enjoying bumper car rides, which is apparently the only way they can defy the country’s ultra-conservative (read: sexist) driving ban, despite men constantly reminding them they are not supposed to do all that.
Manal al-Sharif, the Saudi activist who initiated the 2011 protest against the driving ban, also tweeted the YouTube link to “Hwages,” while lauding its director, Majid al Esa.
The music video comes at a time when more Saudi women have started speaking out against gender discrimination in their country.
In September, for instance, a record number of women, more than 14,000, signed and submitted a petition, demanding the Saudi government to abolish the controversial guardianship system, for the first time ever.
Also, despite the fact Saudi women can’t drive to work, they have been getting there in droves.
The number of working women in Saudi Arabia has increased by 48 percent since 2010, according to a 2015 Bloomberg report, citing data from the Saudi Arabia’s Central Department of Statistics and Information.