A Saudi Vogue cover has recently featured the Saudi Princess Hayfa behind the wheels of a red car, but the image has ignited a heated debate following a series of arrest of women rights activist. In the cover picture, princess Hayfa bint Abdullah al-Saud is sitting on the driving seat wearing leather gloves and high white heels. The front cover is for the Vogue Arabia’s June edition. In a bid to address the ban on women driving a vehicle in the conservative country, Vogue has come out with this edition.
The cover which reads ‘Driving Force’ has applauded the reforms launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who sought to loosen the social restrictions and curb the powers of religious hardliners.
Princess Hayfa, the daughter of the late King Abdullah quoted in the magazine, “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”.
Have a look at the Vogue’s cover
After the Vogue June edition was published, Nora Abdulkarim, Saudi-American activist tweeted, “After @VogueAlArabiya thought it’d make sense to feature HRH in June 2018 issue on “trailblazing women of #Saudi Arabia” & their driving, Saudi women have taken to Twitter to object & replaced her image with 3 of arrested activists labeled as “traitors”: Aziza, Loujain, & Eman”.
The picture on the cover drew many campaigners protesting the arrests of 11 activists identified as veteran women campaigners for the right to drive and end Saudi’s male guardianship system.
Amnesty International said, “At least four of those activists were released last week, but the fate of the others remains unclear”.
Analysts said, “The crackdown, which sparked a torrent of global criticism, has underlined the limits of reforms masterminded by the crown prince, who recently undertook a global tour aimed at reshaping Saudi Arabia’s austere image.”
The Saudi Kingdom is currently preparing to lift the ban on women driving which is scheduled to take place on June 24.