Vogue Arabia Cover Highlights Detached Cruelty of GCC Elite

Published June 3rd, 2018 - 11:46 GMT
Saudi Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud, the daughter of the late King Abdullah. The subject of Vogue Arabia’s June 2018 issue. In the background, the War in Yemen rages on.
Saudi Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud, the daughter of the late King Abdullah. The subject of Vogue Arabia’s June 2018 issue. In the background, the War in Yemen rages on.

By Randa Darwish

“This June, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is putting women in the driving seat – and so are we.” This is how Vogue Arabia described their June’s edition, dedicated to the "trailblazing women of Saudi Arabia."

Despite the fact that several Saudi women activists had been arrested recently in the kingdom, the magazine’s cover featured the Saudi Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud, the daughter of the late King Abdullah, wearing high heels and leather gloves behind the wheels.

The luxurious princess who was described as 'humble' for accepting to be part of the magazine edition, praised the latest reforms, affirming her support in a society that fears change. “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.”

A wide-controversy was ignited among Saudis and Arabs who were questioning the Dubai-based magazines orientation, when featuring a Saudi Princess praising her country’s openness while overlooking the fact that there several oppressed Saudi activists arrested and the whereabouts of many of them are still unknown.

Some critics attacked the magazine, challenging it to mention anything about the arrested activists in the meantime, while featuring a princess on the cover to praise her country’s claimed reforms.

 

 

However, Manal Al Sharif, one of the Saudi activists who has been vital in the women’s rights movement in the kingdom lately was featured also in the magazine’s issue. She tweeted expressing her pride that her country’s women are being celebrated worldwide.

Others argued that Vogue might be celebrating the wrong women.

Several users posted the cover with photoshopped faces of detained activists Aziza al-Yousef and Loujain Hathloul over the princess’ face.

 

Sarah also weighed in on the controversy and said:

The Vogue Cover is part of a sustained campaign to distract attention from crackdowns and suppressions against freedoms in the kingdom.

In response, Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief, Manuel Arnaut, defended the magazine’s issue. In a statement sent to the BBC, he said the publication highlights issues related to womanhood in the Arab world and Princess Hayfa helped in “magnifying” their message.

Earlier in February 2011, Vogue Arabia raised controversy over their magazine’s cover that features Asma Assad, the first lady of Syria, and the wife of the dictator Bashar Assad, who has thousands of Syrians’ blood on his hands. Vogue faced backlash over the article that praises Asma Assad as “A Rose in the Desert.” The article and all references to it were removed from Vogue's website few weeks later without an explanation.

Vogue Arabia celebrates class and money. It has no time for decency.  


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