What’s the plan, pretty one?

Transportation network company Careem’s recent message to its clients in Saudi Arabia has resulted in a sweeping social reaction

Turki Aldakhil

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Transportation network company Careem’s recent message to its clients in Saudi Arabia has resulted in a sweeping social reaction. The message read “what’s the plan, pretty one?” It sums up the distance between the message-giver and the recipient and between the text and its interpretation.

A message sent out this way justifies the angry social reaction it received. Women have become the proverbial hunter, who when surrounded by deer, does not know which one to target. Women now suffer from drivers who demand high prices while not being allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. These companies have now emerged and used women as a commodity within the context of a marketing campaign.

A woman is not an object and she is no one’s belonging. She has her own character and individuality. The ad’s text is unsuccessful and no matter how you look at it, it will somehow harm a conservative society like the Saudi society, and also harm its ideas and beliefs.

Other ads by different companies used to say: “Where will you go this evening?” or “How can a family spend this day?” However, to write an ad in such a blatant manner like Careem did is just wrong. Many colleagues, intellectuals and female writers and academics responded to the ad with resentment. The ad was written by someone who views woman as an object and a possession. If he hadn’t been as such, he would have thought a thousand times before venturing and sending out this text which we cannot but consider rude and impolite.

This article was first published in Okaz on Oct. 16, 2016.


Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

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