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The New Arab

These Saudi women are challenging the conservative status quo

The video calls for equal women's rights [Twitter/@Majedalesa]

Date of publication: 3 January, 2017

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A Saudi music video has challenged the kingdom's conservative establishment by speaking up for equal women's rights and an end to the controversial guardian system.
Dressed in bright hues of pink, yellow and blue under their niqabs and abayas while roller-blading, skating and riding a scooter, a group of women have taken the Middle East by storm by challenging Saudi Arabia's patriarchal society and speaking up for equal women's rights in an awesome new video.

Hwages (Concerns) was released by Saudi artist Majed al-Esa on December 23 and has since been viewed over two million times on YouTube.

Read also: Eight times Saudi women smashed the status-quo in 2016
The video seeks to challenge the kingdom's conservative establishment and attempts to break stereotypes of Saudi women.

The shot opens with six niqab-clad women getting into a car, followed by their driver – a young boy, a scene that is a clear stab at the country's ban on women behind the wheels. Saudi Arabia is still the only country in the world where women are banned from driving, along with other societal pressures and laws that restrict the rights of women.

The song in the video boasts lyrics like: "May all men be wiped out! They have given us mental problems... None of them are sane, they've all been possessed by jinns."

Another scene shows two Saudi men being allowed to travel freely, as they prance around their suitcases, while women are constrained by the guardianship system that gives men wide controls over women.

A male family member, normally the father, husband or brother, must grant permission for a women to study, travel, work, receive health care and participate in other activities.

Last month, a Saudi man was jailed for one year for launching a Twitter campaign and petition to end the controversial system. Thousands of Saudis signed the petition and took to social media to call for women's rights.
Watch the full video here

The music video, which appears to be a remake of an older song, also pokes fun of US President-elect Donald Trump, who shows up as distorted mask heading the of "House of men" – a reference to his recent defeat of Hillary Clinton.

Esa, the director of the video, has been known for his passion for taking traditional Saudi music and poetry and updating them for a modern audience.

Last year, his music video Barbs was another viral hit.

The catchy mix up of hip hop and Gulf beats featured a short dance that inspired many social media users to post videos of themselves imitating the head-bobbing dance moves.

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