Saudi Arabia

If Saudi Men Want to Live in a World Without Women, Let Them Go F*ck Themselves


What's missing from this image in an IKEA catalog for Saudi Arabia?

The woman who was in the version sent elsewhere:

This was posted at Quartz by Zachary M. Stewart, who also links to this statement from IKEA published by the Wall Street Journal:

"As a producer of the catalog, we regret the current situation," Ylva Magnusson, spokeswoman for IKEA Group, which runs 298 of 337 IKEA stores world-wide, said. "We should have reacted and realized that excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalog is in conflict with the IKEA Group values."

IKEA is a great store and while they are right to be castigated for contravening their stated values, the real culprits here are, I think, is our good friends the Sauds. The human rights record of the kingdom is terrible at best.

Years ago in a terrific interview with Reason, Swedish libertarian Johan Norberg talked about how one effect of cultural and economic globalization is that it changes how repressed populations see themselves. Take a look:

Globalization has also helped extend rights to women that had long been confined to men. These include being able to go into business, get an education, inherit money, and so on. One reason for this is simple economics. In a globalized, competitive economy, women are a potential resource. They are able to have new ideas, to produce, and to work. If you discriminate against women—or anyone else—you lose opportunities as a society or as an employer. Take the discussion that's going on now in Saudi Arabia about whether women should be allowed to drive, which they can't legally do now. While it's unlikely the situation there will change anytime soon, it's progress just to have the discussion. People are saying it's extremely costly to hire drivers, often from other countries, to drive women around. You can see how basic economics, basic capitalism, creates the incentive to give women more rights.

A second reason is that all the goods, ideas, and people that cross borders under globalization allow people to see more alternatives, to see other ways of living. When women and other oppressed groups in poor countries see how their counterparts in Western societies are treated, they begin to have ideas about how they want to be treated. Globalization is a great influence because people everywhere get all sorts of new ideas. They say, "Wow, things can be very different than I'm used to."

So keep doing business with Saudi Arabia, but in such a way that their women and other oppressed groups get crazy ideas in their heads. Who knows, maybe the Saudi Arabian ladies on will pull a shopping variation on Lysistrata: Don't even think about it until you've put together that goddamn SVEIO chest of drawers, honey.

Hat tip: Michelle Field's Twitter feed.

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  1. If the Arab world wants to ignore the potential ideas and investments and leadership of 50 percent of its population, let ’em. It’s there choice.

    But then they gotta stop bitching when the world passes them by and they remain backwaters of poverty and ignorance whose only possessions are hydrocarbons.

    1. Jebediah Springfield: People, our search is over! On this site we shall build a new town where we can worship freely, govern justly, and grow vast fields of hemp for making rope and blankets.

      Shelbyville Manhattan: Yes! And marry our cousins.

      Jebediah Springfield: I was- wha… what are you talking about, Shelbyville? Why would we want to marry our cousins?

      Shelbyville Manhattan: Because they’re so attractive. I… I thought that was the whole point of this journey.

      Jebediah Springfield: Absolutely not!

      Shelbyville Manhattan: I tell you, I won’t live in a town that robs men of the right to marry their cousins!

    2. HaHaHaHa, no they don’t. All they have to do is riot in the streets and threaten to blow shit up. Then the civilized world will bend over backwards to placate them so we can all go about our business.

      1. No NO. They only riot because the evil Americans bomb them all of the time.

        1. No. They riot because our women drive…if you can call it driving.

          1. I was in Saudi Arabia in 90-91. Even the Kuwaiti women who made it out ahead of the Iraqi Army couldn’t stand the place.

            Right before the Gulf War started, Kuwaiti women organized a protest in which they all drove through Riyadh. The Saudis just ignored it (and didn’t report it).

            They did strongly encourage us to get the war on so they could get all the whores out of their Holy Land.

    3. And they will never ever stop bitching, in fact, they will blame it on the “Capitalist West” for stealing it from them.

  2. Ikea did the same thing with that ad featuring two gay gentlemen, as I recall, and yet reason didn’t get all pissy about that. Or maybe they did, I don’t remember.

    Ikea should do whatever is in the best interest of their income statement. If it moves furniture in a particular country then values be damned.

    1. Yes, exactly. Who declared IKEA the ombudsmen of liberal values, anyways?

      Their shareholders sure didn’t.

    2. Well, (A) Fuck Swedish Wal-Mart and (B)… Nope. The first choice covers everything I have to say about them.

    3. +1 for consistency.

      1. Irony, thy name is joe.

        1. What’s ironic about it? joe is consistently short and stupid, after all.

    4. Ikea should do whatever is in the best interest of their income statement. If it moves furniture in a particular country then values be damned.

      I agree, but I could do without the insincere faux apology from spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson.

      1. Well, that message is probably aimed at helping move merchandise in places offended by the censorship. It’s quite a balancing act, putting values out there to potential customers.

  3. I don’t usually comment, but “Ikea is a great store”?????????

    1. Yeah, it actually is. If you disagree then you’d better post something more convincing than question marks.

      1. Like assembly instructions for question marks.

        1. Here’s a Classic-

          “How to Assemble and Ikea Computer Desk”

  4. Victoria’s Secret in Saudi Arabia.……html?_r=0

  5. Maybe they can have a big island and live there with the American feminist extremists who want pretty much the same thing.

    1. Please link to an American feminist who wants to import the burka.

      1. Oh joe, you must hate women most of all, because they don’t really care for incredibly short midgets like you. How often did you beat your wife?

        1. He only tried the one time. Something about his wife laughing at the juxtaposition of a whip and Joe’s childlike physique turned him off to the idea soon afterwards.

        2. Before or after she left him?

      2. Well, she doesn’t go that far, but Naomi Wolf doesn’t exactly condemn it either.…..ntentSwap1

  6. I seriously don’t get a society that wants to keep women hidden away. Are all the men closeted or something? Am I mistaking the power of misogyny?

    1. It’s a slippery slope from letting the ladies show some skin in public to this.

    2. I imagine they’d all be a lot less pissed off if they could just ogle some boobies once in a while.

      1. Look, I was once at sea for days on a sailing trip in Maine. Nothing was more painful that having no women around. When we took a break in Bar Harbor I almost lost my shit because there were chicks around. Honestly I have no idea how Navy schmucks can stand it.

        1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Do you still have your little sailor suit? Did you wear your little bell bottoms on the poop deck? AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


            It was a Friendship sloop with an extended mast and a top jib and for’sil, so no.

            1. It was a Friendship sloop

              And now you know why they’re called that.

          2. Epi was the cabin boy, so he didn’t bother with the bell bottoms on account of all the seamen on his poop deck.

            1. The big hairy sailors made him swab the poop deck all day long.

              1. We listened to the Village People the whole time. Does that mean something?

          3. One of you fools had better make an “able seaman” joke before I have to leave. I’d do it, but it wouldn’t be my place as a woman.

            1. Say what you like, nicole. My Saudi browser just Photoshops out your comments anyway…

            2. Well, nicole, how much seaman are you able to swallow?

              1. SF wins. Good try, Warty, but too obvious.

                  1. Way to be completely unsubtle you tool. I’m offended for her! She can clearly swallow a lot of seamen, you jackass!

        2. See–you almost lost your shit. Because of the womenz. Doh.

          1. It’s all your fault, nicole. See?

            1. I do. It’s awesome being so powerful.

          2. Typical wimmen doesn’t even know how to spell teh wimmenz.

            1. I thought it was teh wymenz? Did it get changed again?

        3. I thought you were more of the Ogunquit type.

          1. You would know, dude.

            1. Would I?

        4. Honestly I have no idea how Navy schmucks can stand it.

          They’re probably married.

          1. Porn. Virtual pornbots. Haptic interfaces with social media applications (Batebook). Etc.

            1. They get to bang hookers in the break room. Er, I mean they can play Grand Theft Auto.

              1. That is a rich naval tradition. At least in port.

                And for captains, well, there’s always Mr. Prostitute.

                1. It’s a crocodile sir.

    3. Remember that if a woman gets raped, it’s her fault. She must have brought it upon herself.

      So women must keep themselves completely covered or else they are inviting rape.

      It’s not so much that the men hate women, it’s that men are not expected to control themselves.

      They basically admit to being animals, but put the blame on the women.

      1. ^^This. The common Islamist phrase regarding the necessity of headscarves and burquas is: “you wouldn’t want to eat a piece of unwrapped candy, would you?” You know because seeing a woman’s hair/face means she’s a lint-covered Werther’s.

        1. And of course it is completely fucked up and has no basis in the religion. All the Koran says is that women should dress modestly. And indeed, throughout most of history Muslim women have not totally covered themselves. In the 1960s the practice almost died out in most countries.

        2. Well, we know you are, at least.

          1. Wait, I referenced Werther’s because I ate a few this afternoon. Does that make me a cannibal?

            1. Or a lesbian.

        3. Probably it’s the facehair, not the hair/face, that turns them off.

    4. Am I mistaking the power of misogyny?


    5. The men in that society haven’t evolved much above animal instinct. The sight of a woman’s face is enough to drive them into a frenzy of rape. And their laws protect them so why not? At this point it’s just about in the women’s best interest to keep covered up. This way they don’t have to worry about being raped for dressing like a slut and then being executed for having been raped.

      1. “Your honor, she clenched her exposed hand into a fist, and the temptation was too great. So I raped her.”

        “Execute her!”

      2. Sounds familiar, ah yes, mandingos…

    6. The men are totally fucked up and angry. Unsurprisingly Saudi men consume more porn per capita than any other group.

      Their men are not closeted. But depriving them of any interaction with women before marriage fucks them up in all kinds of ways.

      1. And a lot of fucking of each other.

        1. I think that is more the women. There is rumored to be a mad lesbian culture within Saudi. The men all jerk off to porn or travel abroad and hire hookers.

          1. I hate to ruin your fantasy John but mad lesbian culture is probably not realistic considering that women there are castrated (female genital mutilation is common in Saudi Arabia).

            No wonder they don’t want women to drive.

        2. well, Islam does encourage pedophilia with pre-pubescant boys, so there’s that. If they can’t fuck teh wymenz they have to get their jollies off somehow, and I’m sure masturbation gets a little old after a while.

      2. Now I know what Saudis and Mormons have in common

      3. Don’t be so sure, John:…

    7. Women have icky cooties.

    8. Are all the men closeted or something?

      In short, yes.…

  7. id hit that muslima babe even tho her coochie rotates sideways 5 times a day or something

    1. “or something”? Have you become self-aware of your own incoherence?

      1. Self-aware? Don’t be absurd.

      2. “o3” isn’t a real peron. It’s posts are actually caused by a cat randomly walking across someone’s keyboard somewhere. That’s why they make no sense, are chocked full of spelling and grammar errors and rarely rise above the level of sophistication of “I can haz cheezburgerz”.

  8. Religion of Peace!

    1. You spelled “Piece” wrong.

  9. Sounds like a very good plan to me dude. Wow.

  10. “As a producer of the catalog, we regret the current situation,” Ylva Magnusson, spokeswoman for IKEA Group, which runs 298 of 337 IKEA stores world-wide, said. “We should have reacted and realized that excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalog is in conflict with the IKEA Group values.”

    So wait, the U.S. Administration goes off the rails apologizing to the world for a film short video clip on youtube, and now Ikea apologizes for kowtowing to the Muslim world?

    I haz a confuze.

    1. I’m sure at some point soon the US will patiently explain to Ikea “Ur doin’ it wrong.”

    2. When IKEA has bigger balls than the President, you have a problem.

      1. Can I vote for IKEA’s American division?

        1. Sure but what are you going to do with all the spare people that you couldn’t find a place for?

          1. Save them for the next election.

    3. The drone strikes on IKEA will commence presently.

  11. That doesn’t look like Photoshop to me. It looks like a second take of the photograph.

    How could they photoshop her out like that? They’d need a photo of what had originally been behind her.

    1. The models were already paid and gone. So I imagine they had a photo of the empty set from the original shot and cut and pasted from that.

      1. I didn’t realize Fluffy was Amish.

        1. Sorry, I’m just used to photoshopping stuff into pictures.

          To take stuff out you have to match the background, and that’s not exactly “blue sky” or “featureless field” back there.

          John’s probably right, they must have had shots of just the set with no models at all to use.

      2. Digital photography is too cheap to fool with all that. They probably took 100 photos that day to test group or just choose from. There are probably the same poses with one kid and not the other and mom and no dad or just the kids. Or just the empty room.

        1. That is what I am saying. I bet they had shots of the empty room. That would make erasing the woman quite easy. If you notice the guy’s head is in exactly the same spot in both photos. That says it is the same photo. If it were a different one, there would at least some difference in positioning and there is not. So they must have photo shopped from the original and a picture of the empty room taken from the same position.

      3. If you look closely at the two pictures you can see that they are different, and not just from a lack of the woman.

        1. Yeah. But the people seem to be in the same position. So maybe they photo-shopped the man and the kids into another picture of the set.

          1. There’s some strangeness with the mirror that makes me think they did do some level of erasing.

        2. toilet paper roll dispenser

          culture shock

    2. You’ve got it all wrong.

      They didn’t photoshop her out of the first picture.

      They ‘shopped her into the second picture.

      1. Seriously, the modelette and her reflection don’t match up. Geez.

  12. I’m surprised at the lack of “companies should maximize profits and shareholder value” responses.

    1. I’m surprised at how stupid you are, joe. Oh wait, no I’m not.

    2. Shut the fuck up, joe, you annoying little midget. No one gives a shit about your sad excused for jokes.

  13. Fuck Saudi Arabia.

  14. Look, I don’t why everyone keeps dancing around the fact that she’s a witch.

    1. She turned me into a Newt!

      1. *stares at John, who clearly doesn’t look like a newt*

  15. Immodest whore! Look at her, tempting young men with her plaid cotton pajamas! She’s a fount of sin! Stone her!

    That’s about how it goes, right?

  16. I notice a picture of a dinosaur on the wall. What’s the Islamic line on whether or not Dinosaurs ever really existed? Do they generally subscribe to young earth creationism?

    1. Yes they do, at least the fundamentalist variety do.

  17. Who knows, maybe the Saudi Arabian ladies on will pull a shopping variation on Lysistrata: Don’t even think about it until you’ve put together that goddamn SVEIO chest of drawers, honey.

    Probably not. I don’t believe the concept of marital rape exists in Saudi Arabia.

  18. This recent trend of gun regulation and globalization on reason is kind of disturbing. All of this should be in the hands of the people and the market, not a globalized government simply because it’s, “not right!”. Who are we to tell others what to do? Well, besides the fact we do it now, but we shouldn’t

    I thought Libertarians were supposed to be the “party of the free”, but if this is the direction it’s heading, I’ll be reconsidering party choices.

    1. Cancel your subscription?

    2. Well, that’s a novel interpretation of this article.

  19. The real problem with Ikea, is shit like that vanity. Looking at that picture is like resurrecting all the tacky clutter ideas from the 70s and 80s with a newer look. Those stupid kids are going to splash water all over the place, and that thing is going to accumulate all the crud among those funky drawer designs and the nice shiny red finish will be scaled over with lime. The clear towel hangers are going to have mildew build up behind them in like a year.

  20. I don’t care what people in other countries do, but what I do care about is it coming here.

    I live in St. Louis. Almost every time I go shopping on Manchester road (which has a lot of muslims and Indians) I see women in Burkhas. Not just at the World Market, but in freaking Wal-mart.

    And it’s spreading. I’ve seen them out in Eureka now,

    1. I bet we will corrupt 80% of them within a generation.

      They will be assimilated.

      1. Yeah, probably. If someone wants to wear concealing clothes, I say go for it. The place I grew up had German Baptists, who still wear those old-time dresses and suits with hats, and all the men have beards. As long as they don’t bother anyone, no one cares. There are people on my campus that cover themselves pretty well, though no girls that I’ve seen here cover their faces. Again, no one really cares.

  21. Also, bear in mind, Saudi Arabia didn’t outlaw slavery until 1960. So they are about 100 years behind the rest of the world…

    1. I’ve been there – felt more like a thousand.

  22. “Globalization has also helped extend rights to women that had long been confined to men. These include being able to go into business, get an education, inherit money, and so on”

    Islam guaranteed these rights to women 1400 years ago, long before “western freedoms” and “globalization” existed.

    1. Too bad they now have the culture they did 1500 years ago.

  23. You’re fighting against the tide. The expression over here is “women are for procreation; boys are for recreation.” Really twisted.

  24. Women’s rights should be maintenance, and equality between men and women is a trend.

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