Vogue Arabia receives backlash for ‘tone deaf’ cover

The cover features a Saudi princess driving a car while female activists who championed the cause remain in jail

KARACHI: Vogue Arabia‘s latest cover has landed the magazine in hot water. The cover features Saudi Princess Hayfa Bint Abdullah Al Saud, daughter of the late King Abdullah, seated in a convertible with the words “Driving Force” boldly imprinted on the cover. The magazine meant to celebrate the Kingdom’s decision to finally remove a ban that prohibited women from driving in Saudi Arabia.

However, controversy arose because a dozen or so women activists have been jailed for protesting against the ban. These activists were at the forefront of the movement that resulted in the ban being lifted in the first place. According to The Independent, Eman al-Nafjan, Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef, Aisha al-Manea, Madiha Al-Ajroush, Walaa al-Shubbar and Hasah al-Sheikh, as well as male campaigners Ibrahim Modeimigh, Mohammed al-Rabe and Abdulaziz al-Meshaal, were all arrested on May 18. Two or three have been released since.

According to TIME, these activists may also face charges for “suspicious contact with foreign parties” and undermining “stability,” according to the Presidency for State Security, an office which reports to the king.

Twitter has taken issue with the cover for the aforementioned reasons:

This isn’t the first time Vogue Arabia’s cover has been criticized. The magazine received backlash for their first ever cover as well, which featured model Gigi Hadid. Many wondered why the magazine couldn’t chose a hijabi model for a magazine that aims to promote hijabi fashion to Muslim women.



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