Saudi Arabian Women Hit The Road In Protest & Get Away With It

Remember M.I.A.'s "Bad Girls" clip? It's the one that pretty much set the music-video standard for 2012 and depicted Saudi Arabian women driving. In burqas and all, they scorched through the desert sands to their hearts' delight. It was an exhilarating middle finger to the country's sexist driving laws and instantly achieved water-cooler status around the world. Now that assertive fantasy is playing out in reality, and so far it seems women are getting away with it. On Saturday, 60 female drivers reportedly took to the road in protest of Saudi Arabia's stringent laws — and faced little police protest.
Advertisement
The ongoing driving conflict stems from the kingdom's demanding interpretation of a strict branch of Islam, Wahhabism. The most conservative Muslim academics claim that allowing women to drive could unravel Islam civilization and, apparently, "damage women's ovaries!" (Now you can see why M.I.A. was so tempted to toy with this draconian ideal.) The catch is there's no specific law outright banning women from driving, but it won't allow them to get driver's licenses. These clever females, however, were licensed in other countries and were therefore, technically, free to do as they please.
Activist Aziza Youssef, a professor at King Saud University, told the Associated Press, he received 13 videos and "about 50 phone messages from women showing or claiming they had driven," but had no way of verifying them. A brief search through YouTube confirms plenty of Saudi women did, in fact, take to the wheel in the past 24 hours. Activist Al Sawyan confirmed she took to the streets, saying, "I just took a small loop. I didn't drive for a long way, but it was fine." One small loop for woman, one huge possibility for Saudi womankind. (AP)
Advertisement

More from Politics

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.