After a tough year that has had many of us second-guessing the existence of humanity and gender rights, there seems to be an attempt in the new year to start things on a different – and hopefully more balanced – note. And one instance of that is a new feminist anthem from Saudi Arabia that has taken Internet by storm. An Arabic song titled the ‘Hwages’ – meaning concerns by singer Majed Al-Esa – has been making waves in the region, particularly its hard-hitting lyrics and symbolic visuals.
The catchy tune and lyrics slamming patriarchy and misogyny are a direct attack on the rules and decorum of the Saudi society, and people seem to love it! The popular video has over 2 million views on YouTube in just a week since it was uploaded.
Images of women wearing burqas and skating on the street, riding a scooty, playing basketball, riding a carousel and dancing unabashedly make up the visual element of the video – nothing short of blasphemy. The group of women clapping and enjoying themselves while singing about dismantling patriarchy has been praised by most of the viewers.
The opening shot of the video shows the women boarding a car driven by a small boy, a sarcastic take on the fact that women are not allowed to drive in the country and cannot go out in public without their guardians – husband, brother or father. “The women clap their hands and sing an Arabic expression that roughly means, ‘If only God would rid us of men!’, a somewhat obsolete phrase that is mostly used in the very conservative region of Al-Qassim, north of the capital Riyadh,” reports The Observer.
As the song proceeds, “the lyrics become even more overtly provocative, with the women singing, ‘Men make us mentally ill’ and ‘They’re making us go crazy’”, the report adds. But what has intrigued the Western world more than the naqab-clad women skating, is the dig at POTUS-to-be Donald Trump. Yes, you read it right. The video shows a cut-out of Trump emerging behind a podium and with a sign that read, “House of Men”. Many Youtube users felt that the reference of Trump featuring in the video is that the women cannot do these things in their own country and now they are not even welcomed in the United States.