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The New Arab

Vogue slammed for ignoring the real Saudi women driving change

Saudi women 'fix' the Vogue cover [Twitter]

Date of publication: 1 June, 2018

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Saudi women have taken to Twitter to slam Vogue for featuring a glamorous princess on its cover, but ignoring Riyadh's recent jailing of a number of Saudi women's rights activists.

Saudi women have taken to social media platforms to slam Vogue Arabia after it featured a glamorous Saudi princess on its cover this month, while the real women "driving change" in the kingdom are being jailed.

Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah al-Saud - daughter of late King Abdullah - appears on the cover of June's edition of the fashion magazine, clad in white, wearing leather gloves and high-heels, perched in the driver's seat of a car overlooking a desert landscape.

It comes as the kingdom prepares to lift a years' long ban on women driving on 24 June, and the cover story is said to be a tribute to the reform drive launched by Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Activists said the cover whitewashes the jailing of Saudi Arabia's real reformers.

Saudi women expressed outrage on Twitter by changing the Princess Hayfa Vogue cover with the images of women activists imprisoned during Mohammed bin Salman's clampdown.

Eman al-Nafjan was arrested at the end of May with six other activists known particularly for their work against a driving ban on women in the country.

The advocates - who include leading figures in Saudi Arabia's women's rights movement such as Lujain al-Hathlol and Aziza al-Yusuf - were arrested on a bizarre list of charges, including "transgressing national and religious principles" and working with "foreign entities".

The detentions comes just weeks before a driving ban on women is set to be lifted.

Saudi Arabia has described the activists as "traitors" with Amnesty International condemning the rhetoric as a "chilling smear campaign".

The human rights group said it was "extremely worrying development for [Saudi] women human rights defenders".

Twitter users were quick to call out the irony of a princess being featured, while her family lock-up women who are the real change makers.

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