Vogue Arabia's spread on "trailblazing" Saudi women has been called out for being "tone deaf" following the arrests of nearly a dozen women's rights activists.
The cover of the June 2018 edition features Princess Hayfa Bint Abdullah Al Saud, the daughter of late King Abdullah, sitting in a Mercedes to celebrate the lifting of a ban on women driving on June 24.
Critics have slammed the magazine for its decision to put Princess Hayfa, whose family has ruled the Kingdom for centuries and has overseen the ban's enforcement, on the cover. The edition was also ill-timed with dozen women's rights activists connected to the Women to Drive movement arrested last week.
Let's put a princess who never struggled from the driving ban on the cover. Who her family issued the driving ban in the first place, put so many women in jail for driving, and just imprisoned prominent women's rights activists who risked their life and freedom to lift the ban.— Sara (@sassy1989sara) May 31, 2018
@VogueArabia— Basim (@BasimGH) May 31, 2018
Not sure if it’s due to negligence, or just ignorance, but you have selected a random person for the cover of the #SaudiIssue with no significant contributions to any campaign fighting for Saudi women’s right to drive.
Here are few suggestions to correct that error: pic.twitter.com/oGgCBVpu1l
Vogue's promotional material made no mention of this fact.
But Manal al-Sharif, a key figure in the Women to Drive movement who was profiled in the issue, praised the magazine for celebrating Saudi women, while highlighting those who were arrested in the crackdown.