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IKEA i “blåsväder” Posted by on Oct 4, 2012 in Current Events

Do you know what “blåsväder” is in English? It literally means “wind storm” maybe storm of criticism would be a great way to put it. But it basically means scandal.

This is exactly what happened when the Swedish company IKEA´s Saudi version of the autumn catalogue for 2012 had come out a few days ago. The reactions were really strong all across Sweden. Ikea had digitally erased the images of women in all IKEA-catalogues for the Saudi market. The IKEA catalogues otherwise identical all across the world and earlier this Monday the Swedish newspaper Metro published the two different images where they showed how women were airbrushed from the pictures. As you can see it on the picture above the mother is totally vanished from the Saudi version. “I was wondering if she is maybe out in the kitchen instead preparing breakfast for the entire family” but she is not on the picture there either, well then “maybe she is the breadwinner of the family and she is out working”.

It is beyond my ken how with todays´ “general” Swedish values you can allow this and how it can go through several decision makers at IKEA. At what point did they actually think this was a good idea that they can stand for? Or was it simply a business decision? IKEA later said that they regret it and it was against their policy. We have no information on whether they are going to stop the distribution of the catalogues or not.

The idea at IKEA is to give the perfect home with a soul for everyone, wrote Lisa Magnusson in her article in Metro yesterday. But mothers are not included unfortunately in the Saudi version. IKEA is not only a company making many furnitures and money for Sweden but should also have responsibility when it comes to what values they are backing up. This was an own goal business wise and a slap in the face for human rights.

There are hundreds of jokes out there right now about this incident. I read it in several newspapers that at IKEAfiles.tumblr.com women are replaced by refrigerators.

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Comments:

  1. Gabriella:

    This is a toughie because, on the other hand, why even enter into a foreign market without making your best stab at making a profit there? And advertising is all ABOUT tweaking it to fit the audience.
    But I see your point. An opportunity to influence values and attitudes towards women in a subtle way, lost.

  2. George A.:

    Aw get over it! IKEA doesn’t have morals–they’re a company that just wants to sell stuff and make a profit. And even if they did have morals why should they shove Swedish sensibilities down Arabic throats? If the male Muslim world wants to treat women like dirt then it’s up to Muslim women to change all that.

  3. Mitch G.:

    George, Saudi Arabia isn’t like your typical Western country prior to suffrage, we have always treated women with respect, in the Arabian peninsula they are largely treated as property, to say its up to Arab women to change their countries is quit ignorant of you. Although I do agree with you about Ikea, most companies are interested in profit, morality coming second or third place, so I can’t be very surprised by Ikea but it is disappointing