You’d be surprised to know that between 2014 and 2015, the top four YouTube channels led by women in Saudi Arabia saw an increase in subscribers of MORE THAN 200%. Since 2011 the internet has seen a growing number of women in the Middle East take to YouTube and the response to their work has been incredibly positive. Introducing you to some of the Arab women who are using the platform to break stereotypes.
1. Haifa Beseisso from UAE
She quit her job to follow her dreams (which she claims are ‘making videos, travelling and talking to people’) and it was a good call. The Palestinian has 79,496 subscribers on her channel Fly with Haifa. And unlike the rest, her videos are made in English.
2. Hayla Ghazal from UAE
The 20-year-old has 1,058,670 subscribers on her channel Hayla TV. At first the idea was to create fashion and beauty videos, but in no time did she realise that the ones that playfully mocked cultural stereotypes and other region-specific subjects were things her audience enjoyed more. She also does videos with her siblings and has ideas for everything ranging from ‘weirdest hair dryer uses’ to ‘how to spot a liar’.
3. Al-Juhara Sajer from Saudi Arabia
The Jeddah-based 25-year-old started her own channel, JaySajer, from the frustration of not being able to find Arabic-speaking women from the region on YouTube (we’re talking back in 2011). Her channel now has 367,018 subscribers and it focuses primarily on beauty, though her travel videos are just as popular.
4. Hessa al-Awwad from Saudi Arabia
At 27, the Dammam-based girl (who is also criticised for wearing a niqab and creating beauty and fashion videos) has earned 411,731 subscribers for her channel Miva Flowers. She uses the video-sharing website as a way to express herself and usually discusses fashion, beauty and Japanese (btw, she’s obsessed with their pop culture) brands.