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.
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.