Saudi Arabia isn’t exactly known as an oasis of freedom for women.
In the conservative kingdom, ladies live under the supervision of a male guardian, are forbidden to drive and must stay shrouded in body-length burqa at all times to keep their bodies hidden from prying eyes. And if that weren’t already enough, they are now being wiped off from advertisements altogether.
An ad for a Saudi Arabian hardware giant sent the Twiteratti into hysterics after advertisers removed the scantily-clad woman featured in the ad and replaced her with a giant beach ball.
The ad was posted on Twitter by Saudi retail company SACO to advertise the company’s special promotions on swimming pools during Ramadan.
It’s accompanied by a photo of a family in the pool showing a man and his three children fully clothed (because who bathes in a swim suit, right?), their faces are pixelated while the woman had been replaced with a Winnie the Pooh inflatable beach ball.
— SacoOffers عروض ساكو (@Saco_KSA) June 4, 2017
The irony wasn’t lost on some Twitter users who noted the company’s drastic censorship and appalling photoshopping skills. Silent Ruins’ original post quickly garnered tens of thousands of retweets as people shared the viral photo.
Saudi censorship is just fucking hilarious. The woman just became a ball. pic.twitter.com/xNsN452yhv
— عزيز (@SilentRuins) June 4, 2017
Here’s the same product marketed on the Dutch website bestlistnet.nl.
And if one peruses Saco’s e-book style catalogue, you will see that the company is really into Photoshopping beach balls and ‘modesty’ inflatables in the place of women, as well as peppering their ads with random black tops.
Here’s the beach ball again, this time featuring Simba from the Lion King, in a different tweet.
— SacoOffers عروض ساكو (@Saco_KSA) June 2, 2017
Meanwhile, what appears to be the same advert for a paddling pool with, *God forbid* a bikini-clad woman, is also on display on Ebay.
Saudi Arabia, land of the free, home of the shapeshifters…