??? ????? ?? pic.twitter.com/RB24PMGCcJ— ???????? (@n15k15) June 19, 2018
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been hailed as a “revolutionary” for trying to bring the kingdom up to par with the rest of the world.
Ever since bin Salman took over as the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, women have been allowed to drive and cinemas have been opening up. However, many claim the crown prince’s revolution is a farce.
While women may be allowed to attend concerts, it seems bin Salman is yet to “revolutionize” the ultra-conservative kingdom’s stance on women having fun.
Anywhere in the world, concert-goers’ dancing is considered normal. In fact, so much so, the idea of not dancing at a concert would deem the entire concept of being at a one, absurd. Not in Saudi Arabia though, specifically if its women.
Footage of Saudi women having fun and dancing at a concert in Arar governorate's Al Beijan Resort caused massive outrage after it was posted on Twitter. The enraged replies over how women having fun has “doomed” the kingdom, show how the “new Saudi Arabia” has still a long way to go to accept women as equals.
The backlash, over women having some harmless fun, was so immense; the resort’s manager had to issue a statement.
"People thought the concert was mix-gender because of the angle through which the video was shot. But this isn't the truth. There were several platforms separating men and women at the event," Badr Al Shemmari explained, speaking to Ajel news site.
After the statement, Twitter users seemed more enraged, accusing the management of trying to cover –up a mixed gender concert.
احترم كل رد او راي مهما كان— ABUZAKARiA (@abuzakaria31) June 19, 2018
لكن الي يقولون الرجال بعيدين والمنشد والي واقف يصور ويصفق ويحمس الجمهور الي كان كل تركيزه على تحميس النساء اليسوا رجال .....
اللهم احفظ بلادنا وامننا وولاة امرنا بحفظك
"I respect all responses and opinions except those stating that these men weren't on the same platform as the women. The performer, the man filming the footage, and the other one calling on the audience to clap, aren't they men?” replied one Twitter user.
While there were critics, there were also many who insisted, like men, women also had every right to enjoy themselves.
"I don't think this violates any rules but unfortunately there are those bringing it up to stir up controversy and that's just unacceptable. Women have the right to enjoy themselves. Their platform here was separate from men attending the concert so let's just let go of these regressive ideas. All entertainment being offered to people in the kingdom is suitable for everyone,” one Twitter user said.
Whereas, one user just advised women to carry on having fun, ignoring their critics.
"Your misery is caused by women's happiness. May you live in misery and may women enjoy themselves then,” one user chimed in.
Despite bin Salman’s claims of cultivating a progressive environment for women in Saudi Arabia, the centuries old conformist kingdom’s thinking regarding equal rights for both genders, is still in no way near “reformatory.”
Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS / Faisal Al Nasser