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Skater girls and Biker chicks in the Middle East

There is something happening in the Middle East right now, and it doesn’t have anything to do with bombs, oil, or politics.  But it does involve some badass chicks on wheels.

I found these two stories within a week of each other, and all of a sudden I realized that women are quietly changing things in the Middle East (and HAVE been for a while, even if we haven’t seen it).  Change can take place in many forms, it doesn’t just have to be through street protests and revolutions.  Change can also be a girl on a skateboard, or a woman on a motorbike.



Kesh Angels, a 2014 art installation by Moroccan photographer/filmmaker Hassan Hajjaj, showcases a series of playful, vibrant images of young Islamic female bikers.  These women give off a vibe of total self-confidence, one that is contagious.  Even with their bodies and faces fully covered, they challenge the stereotype of the typical Islamic woman:  It is a subtle message of fierce strength, delivered through brightly-colored, vividly patterned clothing and the incredibly confident poses that these women strike.  There is also a documentary coming out in relation to this photo series, it’s called “A Day in the Life of Karima”, premiering May 13, 2015 at LACMA.

“These girls are tough, speak up to five languages, and are full-time moms who work ten-hour days.”

-Quote from the article in GOOD magazine (online) where I found this awesome story.

Kesh Angels by Hassan Hajjaj via GOOD 2



In Afghanistan, little girls are rocking the wheels off some skateboards.

These young ladies are part of a non-profit called “Skatetistan“, where young people, both boys and girls, learn about play and independence through skateboarding.  (I recommend checking out the entire Skateistan website, it is an amazing organization!!) The photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson went there to capture this in action, by shooting incredible images of the girls who are part of Skateistan, which are featured in her series called “Skate Girls of Kabul”

Jessica Fulford-Dobson 4


Girls are not allowed to ride bicycles in Kabul, yet skateboarding is acceptable.  I can only imagine what a sense of freedom and exhilaration these girls feel when they ride their boards… it’s something that, as a mother myself, almost makes me well-up with tears.  It’s powerful.  And it goes far beyond simply having fun and learning to balance on a skateboard.  These girls are learning what independence is, what it feels like to be a little bit free, to challenge themselves against ramps and turns and speed.  I think that even in America we could use a little bit more of this for our young daughters.

Jessica Fulford-Dobson 1

Jessica Fulford-Dobson 3

Jessica Fulford-Dobson 5



Skate girls story discovered via MissMoss, in this article.  All images by Jessica Fulford-Dobson

Biker chicks story found via GOOD magazine online.  See more images HERE.  All images by Hassan Hajjaj.

*note:  Although Morocco is geographically located in Africa, it is often referred to as part of the “Middle East”.




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