As part of the True Life series, MTV recently aired an episode titled, “Resist the Power! Saudi Arabia,” in which the lives of several young Saudis were filmed. The show documents a handful of struggles experienced by Saudi Arabia’s large youth population. Among them, the show follows a young man named Ahmad in his fight to provide women a voice within Jeddah’s City Council and Fatima, a 20-year-old psychology student (pictured below), who is pioneering a colorful abaya line that will challenge the status quo of the all-black attire.
Fatima is pictured in brightly-colored hijabs and abayas juxtaposed against a sea of black abaya-donned women. She says that it is not uncommon for people to stare at her when she wears colored abayas. A male fabric storeowner tells her that a black abaya is what “shows the woman’s modesty.” She says wearing black abayas is the “practice of Islam in our culture, but that is not Islam at all.”
Later, they show Fatima with her mother and friend on a boat. As she looks at the men riding jet skis in circles around them, she says, “Here, women are precious, they are the jewels of the family, and there are a lot of things I would really want to experience but I can’t.” In a later scene, Fatima and a friend, dressed as boys to avoid being stopped by the religious police, go bike riding. She says, “A woman should do anything a man does…the journey to reach a goal as big as equality between genders is not an easy goal. I just want women to believe in themselves. It is our right to have a voice.”