Love seeing billboards and posters advertising tennis ladies like Ana Ivanovic and Serena Williams? Well, be glad you don’t live in Qatar. The WTA decided to hold its season-ending tournament in the Middle Eastern country, which has been exposed to its share of Western culture but is still a Muslim nation.
The women are still allowed to play in their normal outfits, but all advertising in the capital city of Doha has shown them just as purple silhouettes. Apparently, Qatar’s state-run advertising agency rejected photos of the players in their tennis clothing because their arms and legs were exposed and that might be considered sexual in nature. Nah! Women’s tennis marketing the sexuality of its players? Get outta here!
Not selling sex may be a foreign concept to us, but the EARTH TIMES tries to explain the situation:
“Since it was the month of Ramadan, we met and we decided that it was better to have silhouettes and not to show players’ legs and arms. We thought we had to adapt to the country and respect its habits and religion,” Moroccan Karim Alami, the tournament director, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
Unlike in America, where scantily-clad women are met with the occasional protest or call to the FCC, it can be a really big issue in countries where conservative religious ideals have clashed with modern society. Just ask Muslim tennis player Sania Mirza, who creates such a frenzy in the Islamic world that she won’t even play tennis in her home country of India. Her likeness has been burned in effigy just because she wears shorts and t-shirts to play tennis, and some crazies wanted to throw her in jail for putting her bare feet too close to the Indian flag.
So, even though it’s Ana Ivanovic’s birthday today, don’t expect to see her picture anywhere in Doha:
Qatar, which has experienced an opening to Western culture over the past few years, understood that change cannot happen overnight. So on the streets there is no sign of the WTA’s classic advertising posters, showing off the beauty of Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic and company.
Luckily, this isn’t Qatar: