The No Woman, No Drive parody was created to bring attention to Saudi Arabia’s ban on female drivers. Hisham Fageeh’s YouTube clip surpassed his expectations, attracting over three million viewers.
The clip features a parody version of Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry. However, Fageeh changed the lyrics to reflect issues related to the driving ban.
As reported by Washington Post, Saudi Arabia does not have a specific law that bans women from driving. However, women are not allowed to possess drivers licenses. Anyone caught driving without a license is arrested and fined.
On October 26, women across Saudi Arabia risked arrest by driving cars in protest of the gender biased law. Several of the women filmed themselves driving and posted the clips on YouTube.
Fageeh released No Woman, No Drive the same day. He said he wanted to use humor to draw attention to an important issue. Quoting Oscar Wilde, his friend explained “if you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh… ”
As reported by EuroNews, Fageeh hoped the clip would reach “people’s pages, newspaper pages, and… television sets.” He also wanted people around the world to know that “Arabs and Saudis” have a sense of humor — even when the subject is controversial.
Although Fageeh does not specifically mention social change, his clip reached millions of viewers, including many residents of Saudi Arabia. If nothing else, the clip will bring attention to the fight for women’s rights.
Max Fisher of Washington Post reports that the driving ban is only a small part of the oppression faced by women in Saudi Arabia.
Women are assigned a “male guardian,” who has the power to make legal and personal decisions without the woman’s consent. Any decisions, including medical treatment, education, travel, and employment, must be approved by the male guardian.
In Saudi Arabia, most women are completely dependent on their guardian. The driving ban only further limits their decisions and independence.
The No Women, No Drive video is meant to be funny. However, it addresses a very important and serious problem that deserves attention.