“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is putting women in the driving seat — and so are we.” That’s how Vogue Arabia described its June cover which features Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah al-Saud, the daughter of the late Saudi King, pictured glamorously on the front cover, in an attempt to celebrate the end of a ban on female drivers this month.
🇸🇦“In our country, there are some conservatives who fear change. For many, it’s all they have known. Personally, I support these changes with great enthusiasm.” HRH Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud is in the driving seat on the cover of #VogueArabia’s first-ever #SaudiIssue. The Saudi issue will launch in a monumental month, with the ban on women driving in the Kingdom set to be lifted on June 24. Read our exclusive interview with the artist and daughter of the late King Abdullah in the June issue, on shelves June 1. Cover 1 of 3 #VogueArabia 🇸🇦 Photography @boo_george_studio Fashion Direction @katieellentrotter Interview @mrarnaut Production @snapfourteen في بلدنا، بعض المحافظين يخشون التغيير. وبالنسبة لكثيرين، هذا كل ما يعرفون. وأنا عن نفسي أؤيد هذه التغييرات بكل حماس"، هذا ما صرحت به سمو الأميرة هيفاء بنت عبد الله آل سعود، والتي تظهر خلف عجلة قيادة السيارة على غلاف #عدد_الاحتفاء_بالسعودية الأول من نوعه على الإطلاق من #ڤوغ_العربية. وسيصدر عدد الاحتفاء بالسعودية هذا في شهر تاريخي يشهد تنفيذ قرار رفع الحظر عن قيادة النساء للسيارات في المملكة، والمقرر يوم 24 يونيو. اقرؤوا حوارنا الحصري مع الأميرة في عدد يونيو، والذي يتوافر في منافذ البيع اعتباراً من الأول من يونيو. #ڤوغ_العربية
However, the photo did not appeal to women activists in the country, some of whom were arrested and imprisoned for driving before the ban was lifted. If the June issue of Vogue Arabia celebrates « avant-garde women in Saudi Arabia », 11 women’s rights activists were arrested a few weeks ago. Following these arrests, many Saudi women were outraged on the internet.
These same woman were as « traitors » and « agents of embassies » by state media. According to a state security spokesman, the women arrested were accused of wanting to « destabilize the kingdom and breach its social structure and mar the national consistency. »
Although four of the activists were released last week, according to Amnesty International, others still remain in custody including three prominent activists: Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef, and Eman al-Nafjan. To restore their truth, internet users took to twitter to condemn the cover for its lack of tact.
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
I'm laughing so hard that my irony glands are about to burst. A Saudi princess is on the cover of @VogueArabia to celebrate women finally being allowed to drive. Yet, her family is currently jailing the pioneering women that actually fought for that right. https://t.co/2dLXes4v5N
— Biejan Poor Toulabi (@btoulabi) May 31, 2018