The image was tweeted by Saudi retail company SACO on a Twitter page highlighting its latest offers. The tweet states that the store has a large range of swimming pools on promotion and is accompanied by a photo of a family in the pool.
The man and three children appear fully clothed in the pool with their faces pixelated while the position of the woman is replaced with an inflatable ball and its reflection.
— SacoOffers عروض ساكو (@Saco_KSA) June 4, 2017
The stark censorship was highlighted on Twitter and quickly garnered tens of thousands of retweets as many expressed shock at the ad and shared the original uncensored photo.
Saudi censorship is just fucking hilarious. The woman just became a ball. pic.twitter.com/xNsN452yhv
— عزيز (@SilentRuins) June 4, 2017
My eyes just popped out. What on earth is this monstrosity?
— VISHAL (@VishalManve12) June 5, 2017
وهاذي الأصلية اللي تم تشويها، بدلوا المرأة ببالون كارتون وعتموا على صدر الرجال والأطفال pic.twitter.com/KufT8MUr7T
— أحمد الزياني (@alzayaniAR) June 4, 2017
The swimming pool depicted in the promotion is manufactured by Intex Corp – a California-based company that specializes in pools, spas and airbeds.
Saudi Arabia often omits women from ads or shows just their eyes. In 2012, IKEA came under fire for photoshopping women out of its Saudi Arabia catalogue.
The Swedish furniture giant later apologized, noting, that “excluding women from the Saudi Arabian version of the catalogue is in conflict with the Ikea Group values.”
Saudi Arabia was elected to the UN women’s rights commission in April despite widespread gender inequality, including the continued male guardianship system and a ban on women driving cars.