Posted by: Shekhah | October 22, 2012

Women and Advertisement the Saudi way!

Recently many newspapers globally published a news article criticizing IKEA for deleting images of women from the Saudi version of its catalogue. IKEA’s decision to align with Saudi cultural standards raised questions in Sweden about their commitment to gender equality. As  a result the company released a statement expressing regret over the issue. Here is some pictures from both catalogs as shown by NPR & LA Times.,0,579448.story

The irony is that in Saudi Arabia no one is really angry over the issue. On the contrary, reading some of the comments about the news in a Saudi newspaper shows sexism and segregation toward women. Some threaten to boycott IKEA and any other place that would publish women photos, because they will bring evils to the Saudi culture and will corrupt people’s values.

Women in Saudi TV commercials must appear in long dresses with head scarves covering their hair. In magazines, censors use the best Photoshop experts, making sure every woman dresses with modesty. Here is how women are shown in advertisement in Saudi Arabia:

Reading this chapter about feminism is like reading a fairy tale from a Saudi perspective. These things don’t exist there. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case when reading about patriarchy and misogyny.

I’m wondering, in societies where patriarchy is the norm, what will be the role of media in enhancing the situation of women? Would advertisements be seen as a source of oppressing women? Would feminism there be seen as a concept or an ideology?

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