I’ve been silent for a while about my pet peeve subject..women driving..or women NOT driving. My last tongue in cheek take on it was about the driving campaign organized on the 26th of October 2013. Read about it in this post: “26th October, The Day the World Almost Came to an End“.
I recently came across a Saudi photographer Areej Adel’s work regarding the women driving and was just fascinated how well she captured the feeling of being “stuck” in the back seat..I’ve attached some of Areej’s photographs from her series “A Queen, But..” on this post. Her images stirred up a lot of feelings about this topic and I found myself writing yet another post (satirical rant) about it..Just as I had another very serious experience with my asthmatic son who is 2 years old and had a severe asthma attack while I was home alone with my kids. I was not able to take him to the hospital immediately since I have no driver, and there are no taxis available to hail down from street in my area ( diplomatic quarter). For a moment, I thought he would die in my hands. I do not wish that feeling on anyone. That incident really triggered me to write this post.
And who am I kidding here? The women (not) driving issue is one of the most, if not THE most debilitating, humiliating, oppressing and life quality-diminishing aspect of living as a female in Saudi Arabia. So this is personal, ya’ll.
And I know I’m not alone. There are thousands of men and women, Saudi and non-Saudi residents, who are fed up and want change.
Really. Enough is enough. It’s 2014.
Women need to start driving yesterday. We need to take our kids to school. We need to go to work, meetings and doctors appointments.
We need to have this basic human right NOW.
We are tired of being forced to rely on the unreliable drivers. We are fed up with taxi drivers that treat us like dirt.
We are really sick and tired of the perverts that cohabit that tiny space with us, and we have no other choice of getting to where we NEED to go but to deal with it.
We are done dealing with drivers lying, yelling or cursing at us. Not picking up their phones or showing up, leaving us in trouble. How many women have been dumped in the middle of roads because the driver had a bad day? If we found the rare gem driver who actually knows AND follows the traffic rules, he for sure will not be following our directions or wishes. Why? Because knows he has that power over us. And he will take full advantage of it.
How many women have been stuck at home with a sick kid, waiting for a driver for what seems to be forever? Worse yet if there’s a medical emergency? The despair and feeling of complete helplessness is unfathomable.
Only women living in Saudi Arabia will know exactly how utterly frustrating it is, seeing that little boy driving a car right beside us. While we are sitting in a car which we would be fully licensed, capable and WILLING to drive, yet find ourselves hurdled in the backseat, behind the blackened windows, feeling almost as if we don’t even exist.
For crying out loud how does a male sexual organ license a person to drive?
It doesn’t matter if you’re underaged, heck even a kid.
No need for a driving license either. Everyone knows males were born licensed.
Driving skills? Who needs them if you’ve got the right chromosome! That means you have natural talent.
How about owning a car, valid international driver’s license and maybe even an exceptionally clean driving record? Nope ,they will not guarantee you can drive, if you lack that certain extra asset.
How did it become Islamically acceptable anyway, that this unrelated male, basically a stranger, that doesn’t even share a common language with us, who doesn’t even have a valid driver’s license from his country of origin, let alone a local one, is driving us around, among thousands other unskilled drivers such as him?
How on earth did this become the ‘safest’ option?
Is this not totally absurd?
Is this how Queens are treated, really?
If women in Saudi Arabia are treated like the Queens they say we are, then why are we, more often than not, spoken to and treated like children?
Queens have power. Queens are respected. A Queen’s word is the last word.
I have the feeling there are no real Queens in Saudi Arabia. Only Princesses, driven around in carriages, that’s all. The elite 5% of the princesses might be lucky to have a golden carriage and a knight in shining armor driving it, but the rest of us pheasants are stuck with the pumpkins and trolls.
And then we have these nay sayers, telling us that allowing women to drive on the Saudi roads will cause problems such as, more cars on the roads, more traffic congestion.
Well here’s a simple math lesson for you:
Driver takes woman to work in the morning, drives car back home. Goes again in the afternoon to pick up woman from work, drives her home. In the evening driver takes woman to her parents house, goes back home. Comes late in the evening to pick up woman, drives her home again.
TOTAL= 8 car rides.
Woman drives to work in the morning. Drives home in afternoon. Drives to parents house. Stays a couple of hours, drives herself back home.
TOTAL= 4 car rides.
See? It’s actually the other way around, dummies!
And that’s just one hypothetical situation, it could be even more rides back and forth with the driver.
How about the type of guy I mentioned at the beginning of this post? That guy who wants to keep his jewels protected? He doesn’t want women to drive nor will he allow his female relatives to drive themselves because…
The Saudi roads are SO dangerous! How could she possibly drive among those crazy, bad drivers?
YES indeed! Those EXACT same crazy and/or unlicensed drivers and dangerous roads where she is currently riding on, in the passenger seat.
How the heck is that different? Same traffic, roads and same crazy drivers! Actually, if women were driving on the roads, I bet you they would be far less crazy, less congested and less ridden with accidents.
Whoever came up with this genius excuse deserves the Nobel prize for Illogicality.
My dream is to drive on this beautiful desert road one day..
She says on her website about the Saudi Queens:
“A Queen, But…” series tells a story of Queen who views the crown as a symbol of her power, and the suggestion that everything is under control of the crown. This Queen in fact is powerless and is treated like juvenile. In this series, you can capture the irony of how this “Queen” is perceived by herself and others. Sometime she feels her situation is perfectly acceptable and doesn’t understands that her rights are being suppressed, but in her depth she always knows there is something wrong in her life.”
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Hello there, I’m Laura, the author of Blue Abaya, the first travel blog in Saudi Arabia established in 2010. I’ve been traveling around and exploring Saudi Arabia since 2008.
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