Saudi Arabian director Majed Al-Esa shook his country’s deep-seated patriarchy with the lyrics and video of a newly produced feminist song, “Hwages” or in English, “Concerns.” Posted on YouTube Dec. 23, the video now has almost 2.5 million hits.
The women in the music video sing phrases that roughly translate to “If only God would rid us of men,” “Men make us mentally ill,” and “they’re making us go crazy.” The women, clad in bright flowered outfits and sneakers beneath their hijabs, are shown doing activities untraditional for females in Saudi culture, such as riding bikes, roller skating, playing basketball and dancing, all the while denouncing the country’s male-dominated culture. Men are shown driving up in a car and glaring at the women while they rollerblade down the street.
President-elect Donald Trump even makes an appearance in the music video during a scene in which a cardboard cutout of him is shown behind a podium in a makeshift White House alongside a sign that reads “House of Men.” In another scene, women are shown knocking down bowling pins on which men’s faces appear.
The fate of women in Saudi Arabia lies largely with the men in their lives. The country’s male guardianship program declares that every woman must have a male guardian to make her decisions for her, be it a father, husband, brother, son or other relative, according to Human Rights Watch. Without their permission, women may not travel, marry or make other critical decisions.
In December, a Saudi woman posted a picture of herself on Twitter without her body covering and hijab. Conservative Saudi social media users flocked to Twitter to demand her arrest, going so far as to call for her execution. The woman eventually deleted her account and was arrested for violating the country’s moral code.