The Saudi Arabian Music Video Featuring Skateboarding Women That's Changing Perceptions

A group of Saudi Arabian musicians have released a music video for a new pop song that sees women breaking tradition with controversial lyrics and behaviour

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Two million.

That's the number of views the music video 'Hwages' saw on YouTube in its first week after it premiered last month.

In the weeks since, it has sparked widespread debate and caused some controversy across the world, given its bold take on the concept of female stereotypes in the largely conservative Middle Eastern country.

Created by director Majed al-Esa of the Saudi production company 8ies Studios, the video sees a group of women wearing traditional black niqabs – a veil that covers the face but leaves the eyes uncovered – over colourful shoes and printed dresses.

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Throughout the clip, the group are seen riding bikes and scooters, rollerskating down the street, playing basketball, bowling, dancing and driving bumper cars.

While the video may seem the norm for some, for others it delivers a stark political and cultural message about the perception and freedom of women, most notably in a country that asks them to wear 'modest' clothes, limit their interaction with men, forbids them from opening a bank account without a male guardian or driving their own cars and often shames them for competing in sports.

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One of the video's most strikingly politically engaged scenes sees three women getting into the back of an SUV while a young male sits in the driving seat. In Saudi Arabia, women are largely prohibited from driving or obtaining driving licenses. This is an issue which has been hotly debated in recent years, with many women actively flouting the driving ban.

While the song is undoubtedly catchy, its lyrics deliver a clear statement about the patriarchy and female members of Saudi Arabia's society.

The song's title 'Hwages' – based on an old Bedouin folk song – roughly translates to 'concerns' in English. In one scene, the women are seen clapping their hands and singing an Arabic expression that translates to 'if only God would rid us of men!'.

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However, the women's words become even more provocative as the video goes on, with lyrics such as 'men make us mentally ill' and 'they're making us go crazy' heard numerous times through the clip.

At various points in the video, the women also highlight the hypocrisy of Saudi men who disapprove of their behavior with males seen shaking their heads at the expressive dance moves.

The group of women also parody the White House press room, with a cardboard cut-out of Donald Trump's face appearing behind the lectern which has a sign that reads 'house of men' on the front. In the audience, misogynistic signs with images of women's faces crossed out are seen waving in front of the political.

As a result of the video's celebration of female empowerment and rights, viewers have praised its bravery in breaking down stereotypes, including the ex-wife of prominent Saudi prince, Al-Waleed bin Talal, who shared the clip on her Twitter account.

What's more, one of the oldest newspapers in Saudi Arabia, Al-Bilad, has congratulated the creators of the video and said it was a testament to a 'new generation of women [that] is different from the past'.

Art and feminism at its finest.

Watch the video below:

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