The catalogue photo to the left was released in Sweden; the one to the right was released in Saudi. To the right, the woman has conspicuously vanished from the photo.
While I don’t deny that this is indicative of Saudi’s approach to sexual equality–and a degree of very poignant and disturbed reactions followed after I viewed this photograph–and of the erasure of women in Saudi from the face of the earth, I’m furious with those who assert that IKEA is not to blame. Saudi did not ask for women to vanish from the IKEA catalogues distributed in its blasphemous anti-Islamic country, and that is a terrible (and racist) defense of IKEA: the political atmosphere in Saudi is no excuse to assume that sales would plummet if women were shown in catalogues.
To IKEA’s credit, the company did apologize, insisting that they had betrayed their values with the erasure. Frankly, I don’t believe they are really sorry. You can’t make a mistake this massive without demonstrating you really don’t give a fuck. Capitalism without morality–and the anti-thesis of patriotism. IKEA did not betray its own values: it betrayed Sweden’s. This is what happens when corporations forget their roots.