Critical Commentary “Saudi Arabian Women Protest by Driving Cars”

Posted on October 30, 2013 by


Imagine if you were denied the privilege to do something as simple as drive a car. For Americans driving a car is part of every day life and many Americans have been drivers since they were young teenagers. Therefore, attempting to imagine not being allowed to drive a car seems almost ridiculous. However, in Saudi Arabia, being denied the right to drive a car is just one of the many harsh restrictions that Saudi Arabian women have to obey. In the Saudi Arabian culture, males are the dominant ones and the role of a woman is viewed as predominantly to serve the males. Therefore, the men in leadership establish strict rules in order to maintain their control and keep the women submissive.

However, on Saturday October 26, 2013, there was a campaign of Saudi Arabian women activists who took the initiative to get behind the wheel of a car and drive. Sources also display pictures that the women took of themselves and posted in order to make their protest even more known. When I first started reading into the story, I thought that each source I was looking at was giving similar information. However, it wasn’t until after I came across an actual Arab News source, that I realized that the version of the stories being told in the U.S. and U.K. were portrayed differently than in the Arab News.

For example, in the articles posted by the National Post and The Guardian, they discussed how police and security officials seemed to be lacking during Saturday’s campaign. The National Post went on to say that it even seemed as though the police were perhaps turning a blind eye on the women drivers. However, the article by the Arab News claimed, “Eyewitnesses said security was tight on the streets of Riyadh on Saturday.” They also said that governmental threats had been made throughout the week about the consequences that would result if women took the initiative to drive, whether or not it was on the actual day of the campaign.

Overall, I just felt that the information in the Arab article was portrayed more negatively compared to the stories that were written in the Western societies. Reason being is because I felt that although the U.S. and U.K. versions discussed the same overall information that the Arab News did, they wrote in a more uplifting way, which made it seem more positive towards the Saudi Arabian women’s campaign. For example, in the Western versions included various Saudi Arabian women’s individual stories and discussed their excitement and thrill that they experienced through participating in the campaign.

However, then when you look at the Arab article their opening remarks on the story, “The Oct. 26 campaign of Saudi women activists to drive fizzled out Saturday as the government’s threat of arrests appeared to take effect,” varies from the U.S. and U.K. versions of the stories. The Arab’s opening statement started out the article in a way that made it appear as though they were down playing the whole ordeal.

The main reason for the articles being portrayed differently, I feel, is because the authors of the Western articles are not as connected to the topic whereas the author of the Arab article understands the lifestyle and culture of Saudi Arabia. Another reason for the different versions is because of the audience they are aimed towards. For example, in the Saudi Arabia it makes sense to portray the story in a belittling way in order to remain in control and not give any support of other future campaigns. Whereas, in the U.S and U.K. they have no reason to down play the situation. Overall, both stories include the main overview of the stories, just details and the portrayal of the story is where the differences are.

Posted in: Islam