Saudi Arabia's dress codes for women require them to be fully covered. So what do Saudi advertisers do when their stock photos of a swimming pool include a scantily dressed woman? They photoshop a beach ball over them, of course!
Twitter users have been twittering over several photoshopped ads in the Ramadan sale catalogue released by Saco, a Saudi Arabian hardware retailer.
The original photo (which can be found on various websites that sell pools made by the American company Intex Corporation) shows a man, a woman and three kids relaxing in an inflatable pool. In the Saudi catalogue, however, the man and children are suddenly wearing photoshopped clothes (yes, while up to their chests in water). As for the woman, she has vanished. In her place is a brightly coloured beach ball covered with cartoons.
And they didn’t just do this to one photo. Women have mysteriously vanished from the entire catalogue, leaving behind only beach balls in their place (check it out here)! The swimmers have also been dressed in frumpy dark clothes...
Saco released the tweets of several of these modified images on June 2.
In Saudi Arabia, women have to cover their hair and wear long black garments called abayas. Saudi advertisers often alter photos taken abroad to fit with their dress codes. According to the Huffington Post, they often just play digital paper dolls and add an abaya to the model. It’s unclear why, in this case, a beach ball was the chosen solution.
In 2012, Swedish Ikea came under heavy criticism for airbrushing all of the women out of its Saudi catalogue.