A new viral video shows Saudi Arabian women subverting stereotypes and breaking many of the oppressive rules placed upon them... not to mention having a kickass time doing it.
The colorful, feminist video from director Majed Al-Esa (previously responsible for a hilarious viral dance craze that you have to see) shows Saudi women doing all our favourite feminist activities: joyfully dancing, riding scooters, bowling down pins with men’s faces on them, and, most notably, driving bumper cars — women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia.
"Hwages" is a visual delight from start to finish.
Women lack many basic rights in Saudi Arabia. Saudi women are subject to the guardianship system, under which they need a male relative’s permission in order to undertake study, travel or other activities. While women do finally now have the right to vote, it remains the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive. Just last week, a Saudi man was fined and jailed for campaigning to end men’s unfair control over women.
That’s what makes "Hwages" (roughly translated as "Concerns") so damn important.
The video opens with the women in the backseat of a car with a young boy behind the wheel, because of course having a child drive makes more sense than having a woman drive. The revelling women remain covered by the niqab throughout, however their outfits underneath are colorful and bright. The video even includes references to Donald Trump, comparing his sexist, regressive views to the plight of women in the Middle East.
The video is even more satisfying once you understand its simple, repetitive lyrics. The catchy song, which changes between regional dialects, is about the mental rather than physical damage men are inflicting on women through their oppressive actions. And wishing men would be possessed by female demons. Indeed.
A literal translation reads:
May men go extinct (x8)
They caused us psychiatric diseases (x4)
May none of them stay sane (x8)
Everyone of them is like possessed by a female demon (x8)
(In the disco room)
My luck (x3)
My luck is like a storm, and my beloved ones are like leaves ~
My luck is like a storm, and my beloved ones are like leaves (x4)
Who will hold the leaves for me when the storm hits? (x4)
The video appears to be based on a 2014 clip, equal in its joy if not its production value, which is also guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Image: 'Hwages' announcement tweet by Majed Al-Esa
More from BUST