A well-known Saudi female columnist has launched a virulent attack on advertisers in the Gulf kingdom for “smudging” women’s pictures in their outdoor commercials, describing such acts as a social pollution and usurpation of the women's rights.
Halima Mudhaffar, who writes in several Saudi Arabic language newspapers, said she had seen many advertisements boards in public places in the Kingdom carrying “smudged and deformed” faces of women.
“These acts of smudging by advertisers is a sort of visual pollution resulting from intellectual and social pollution. It reflects a real problem which the Saudi society has with women and their faces,” she wrote in the Arabic language daily Al Watan.
“It could be a social or psychological problem but it is a real problem that makes us look at women as extraterrestrial creatures.
“I say this because every time I look at a woman’s pictures in a commercial, I see her without a nose or an eye or even a face.”
She said such a behavior is creating a negative image of women for children, who may misinterpret the smudging of the woman’s face.
“This will only contribute to creating a negative attitude by children towards women.
“Such deformed pictures could tell them that their mothers and sisters are low-level creatures.
“Therefore, we should not ruled out that when a child grows up, he could no longer respect his mother or his wife nor could he support his daughter,” she said.
“What is the reason for treating women’s pictures this way. Are they afraid that her face might spur men’s lusts? If this is the reason, then I believe there is a major problem in the Saudi society.
“The mere fact that these advertisers deform women in such a way amounts to deforming and usurping their rights in real life. I believe that they either must stop smudging women’s pictures or stop the advertisement altogether.”