Vogue Arabia Remains Silent In Women Driving Issue June 2018, On Imprisoned Women Leading Driving Campaign

Sophie Rask by Mannbutte Vogue ME June 2018 (3).jpg

Sophie Rask Honors 'Rebellion' In Vogue Arabia June 2018, With No Word About Imprisonment Of Women Leading Driving Campaign

Model Sophie Rask is lensed by Mannbutte in traditional plaids and classic looks for Vogue Arabia's June 2018 issue./ Hair by Annesofie Begtrup; makeup by Toni Malt

Featuring Sophie's editorial on the Vogue Arabia website, the copy reads: "In our latest issue, Vogue Arabia’s fashion desk explores how to style a cool mix of heritage fabrics – houndstooth, picnic blanket gingham and traditional tartan. The prints exude a youthful energy that feels right again, but how to wear them? Flip the script on styling codes and pair your checks with a rebel spirit. See the full shoot in our June issue, on newsstands now."

On the topic of classic traditions, there is no resolution to the heated controversy led by websites  and Twitter users like AOC around Vogue Arabia's decision to feature Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud, daughter of the deceased King Abdullah, behind the wheel of a  vintage red 1980s Mercedes 450 SL, making it clear that she will join the new movement of Saudi women drivers.

The cover is gorgeous and a milestone for Saudi women, but it comes at a time when the Saudi government is literally imprisoning the women activists who led the drive to put women behind the wheel in the kingdom. It's also relevant that a woman cannot drive without the approval of a male guardian, although we're not clear if a signed affidavit must be on record with the government or what the policy is giving a woman male permission to drive. 

Looking for any updates just now, the Sydney Morning Herald introduced yesterday the backdrop of British colonial history into the convo, saying

Writing in an almost hallucinatory tone about wealth and nobility, (Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel) Arnaut describes Princess Hayfa's hair as "black as the feathers of a raven" and waxes lyrical about her "regal blood” without ever mentioning the

According to a petition created on their behalf, seven women's rights activists are currently being detained by Saudi state security for “attempting to undermine the security and stability of the kingdom”: Eman al-Nafjan, Lujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef, Hessah Al-Sheikh, Aisha al-Manea, Madeha Al-Ajroush, and Walaa Al-Shubbar."

Note that the petition is already closed down, which seems highly unusual in this situation. Having been very involved in the danger faced by women activists in the ME, I'm sensitive to the difficulty faced by Vogue Arabia in walking that fine line of reporting progress while facing reality. 

However, credibility does not exist on the world stage, when there is NO online mention that I know about of the jailed women activists in this entire June issue. Using words like 'rebel spirit' to talk to colonial plaids borders on irreverence and total hypocrisy when the women activists at the heart of the Saudi campaign are imprisoned awaiting their fate.