Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. World
  2. Middle East
1 October 2012

Ikea Saudi Arabia airbrushes women from their catalogue

Spot the difference.

By Alex Hern

When Ikea launched this year’s catalogue in Saudi Arabia, they were apparently faced with a dialemma. They want to have a standard aesthetic across all the countries they operate in, but Saudi Arabia’s hyperconservative standards of morality may be offended by some of the content in the catalogue. The solution? Release a version of it, translated into arabic, with no women in. At all.

Some of the photos were merely swapped out. So this woman is replaced by a soft-looking sweater:

And this woman is replaced by a man:

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Content from our partners
How automation can help telecoms companies unlock their growth potential
The pandemic has had a scarring effect on loneliness, but we can do better
Feel confident gifting tech to your children this Christmas

In others, they decided to just cut their losses and remove every person at once:

And in some, they actually went to the trouble of photoshopping out the women from the pictures:

The full catalogues can be seen here and here.