Fresh from her Superbowl performance with Madonna and Nicki Minaj, M.I.A’s new music video for her song “Bad Girls” has set tongues wagging. Set somewhere in a Middle Eastern desert, the video that was directed by Romain Gavras, shows fast cars doing stunts, men dancing and empowered women driving. During the video, the edgy star is seen, amongst other things, filing her nails on the side of a car as it is titled on two wheels speeding down a desert road.
In the video there seems to be a rebellion where the women who also hold machine guns at time, do the drifting while the men cheer them on. This is a politically charged video with a message of freedom and empowerment to women. Due to strict rules in Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive, just last year activist Mana Al-Sharif was arrested and released from custody after 10 days in Saudi Arabia. In 2011 a group of women including al-Sharif began a Facebook campaign “Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself” also known as Women2Drive. As of today, there has not been changes in regulations that would allow women to be granted driving licenses. In early December, a member of the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia, submitted a report saying that lifting the ban would “cause prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce and the end of virginity”. The head of the Assembly told women campaigners that he was “still open to hearing the case for lifting the ban”.
To all the women out there, imagine what your lives would be if you could not drive?