Alrawabi School for Girls poster

AlRawabi School for Girls

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What it’s about:

AlRawabi School for Girls follows Mariam, a high school student at a private all-girls school in Jordan. When the school’s mean girls push her one step too far she gathers her friends and creates a plan to take her tormentors down, one by one.

Names you might know:

Created by Tima Shomali, who has been described as the Arabic world’s version of Tina Fey, the series stars a group of impressive Jordanian actresses who weren’t previously well known in America, but are now thanks to this series. They include Noor Taher, Yara Mustafa, Rakeen Saad, Andria Tayeh, Salsabiela A, and Joanna Arida.

Why it’s worth your time:

Alrawabi School for Girls still courtesy NetflixAlRawabi School for Girls is a binge-worthy teen drama that is not only well written, but features a stellar cast of newcomers. While the plot is fairly universal, the insight it offers into Jordanian culture is what makes it stand out. Think of it as an international cross between Mean Girls and Gossip Girl, but better than both of them.

There are few shows out there that reveal what life is like for young Arabic women, an often ignored demographic. Each character is well written and fully developed. This isn’t a case where the mean girls are one-dimensional bullies. Layan (Noor Taher), the leader of the mean girls, is extremely wealthy, which allows her to flaunt her money and threaten the school staff. She is also extremely controlled by her family, which explains some of her rebellion. Roqayya (Salsabiela A.) is considered “the muscle,” but is held to intense standards by her family, especially when it comes to appearing modest. Rania (Joanna Arida) is the joker, but she struggles at home with her violent alcoholic father.

The show’s insight into how cyberbullying now impacts teenagers (which is a global problem) and the pressures of wealth and class on young Arabic women make it well worth a watch.

The takeaway:

While the series is certainly not the most accurate look into high school life in Jordan (just as Gossip Girl isn’t the most accurate reflection of American high schoolers) it’s still a fun watch. And it’s ending will haunt you for days.

Watch it with:

This is a series that has to be watched chronologically. Each episode builds upon the previous one. AlRawabi School for Girls can be enjoyed alone or with your friend who lives for soapy teen dramas.

Worth noting:

The series has caused quite a bit of drama in Jordan. Not all Jordanians like how the series portrays their high schools, while others find that it focuses on problems that are hardly addressed in Jordanian society.

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