If only God would rid us of men – Saudi women

A pop video that delivers a political and cultural message about women in Saudi Arabia and raises their oppression by menfolk has racked up close to 2.9 million views on YouTube since it premiered online last month. Hwages, loosely translated as “concerns,” features a group of young women covered from head-to-toe and wearing sneakers while skateboarding, riding scooters, and dancing.

The women in the video clip sing, “if only God would rid us of men” and “May men go extinct, they cause us to have mental illnesses.”

Saudi Arabia has a guardianship system that obliges all female citizens to seek permission from male relatives to travel, marry, and sometimes to work or access health care, according to Human Rights Watch. The women in the video clip sing, “if only God would rid us of men” and “May men go extinct, they cause us to have mental illnesses.” More than half of the kingdom’s citizens are under the age of 25 and pressures for social change are mounting — with campaigns from some to give women the right to drive. In one scene in the video, created by producer Majed Al Esa of the Saudi production company 8ies Studio, three women are sitting in the backseat of an SUV, being driven by a young boy. Another scene shows a cardboard cut-out of President-elect Donald Trump behind a podium with a sign on the lectern that reads, “House of Men.” The video is the latest viral success for Esa and the production company. Jerusalem Post reported that the video which has generated over 11,000 comments on You Tube, has stirred great controversy with hardline Islamists bashing the pop song, as “cheap,” “inappropriate” and “disgusting.” “The director offends the Muslim women in our country. Where are our preachers to deny this?” one Saudi citizen, Hassan al-Ghamdi, was quoted as saying. Saudi Arabia oppresses her women, banning them from driving, among all kinds of restrictions. Recently, however, activists have employed the power of social media to call for an end to oppressive laws and the issue of male guardianship in Saudi Arabia with hashtags such as #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen taking Twitter by storm. Late last year, Esa and his production company released a video clip called “Barbs” or “messy” in a Saudi dialect which was watched over 37 million times and led to a huge dance craze in the Arab world. 8ies Studios co-founder Abdullah Al Musharraf said: “We are a creative company that produces entertainment videos through social media platforms,” but he declined to comment further.

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