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Mariah Carey album covers in Saudi Arabia
April 21, 2007 10:00 PM   Subscribe

Mariah Carey album covers in Saudi Arabia. These appear to be genuine, not a hoax (although the album covers on the Megastar website don't appear to have been changed). From the comments on the post: Actually, I think she looks better in the covered up pictures. Via Mini ZuD.
posted by russilwvong (64 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Sadly, there's still no covering her atrocious wailing.
posted by jonson at 10:05 PM on April 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Honestly, girl needs to keep her clothes on, I say.

I wonder where I can get one of these kitty sweaters, though?
posted by miss lynnster at 10:06 PM on April 21, 2007


Looks like they don't like hotlinking, oh well. Just click on the last image.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:09 PM on April 21, 2007


I think she looks better wearing less.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:12 PM on April 21, 2007


Album covers are already 90% photoshop anyways, those Saudi Arabian covers just up it to 95%. Culture-sensitive modification of pop-culture products happen all the time.
posted by bhouston at 10:16 PM on April 21, 2007


She looks like a chipmunk.
posted by delmoi at 10:18 PM on April 21, 2007


The images are fake according to one poster in that thread you linked to:
I'm a designer by trade, and these are clearly fakes. The image artifacts caused by photographing the design are identical in both versions. the only changes are:

1. editing of clothing
2. adding/subtracting fold lines
3. changing hue/saturation/brightness

the images are pixel for pixel the same in artifacting, at least as close as you can get with jpeg compression
posted by bhouston at 10:19 PM on April 21, 2007


bhouston: another commenter said he has several of the albums, and posted this image. See the second page of comments.
posted by russilwvong at 10:22 PM on April 21, 2007


Russilwvong: Yes an anonymous image of dubious origin hosted on ImageShack proves it real! It's featured on Museum of Hoaxes and they say it is undetermined. It is also from 2005. Blah! I'm done with this thread. Argue all you want.
posted by bhouston at 10:26 PM on April 21, 2007


A sexy chipmunk.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:30 PM on April 21, 2007


And we care about this because...? Why?

I find Mariah Carey offensive. I don't buy her records. That's good enough for me.

I'm not even sure why I clicked on this thread. I looked at the pictures of the album covers and caught myself thinking, "why isn't she wearing a burqua?" before I came to my senses. To wit: I don't care.

They can listen and they can pull wool over their own eyes by covering the rest of her up, and their illusion that they have any kind of relationship with The Creator is left intact. Good for them. I don't care, and no god in his or her right mind cares.

The only real reason to insist everyone covers up is not to keep us from seeing the pretty ones, but to allow us the luxury of not having to see the ugly ones.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:50 PM on April 21, 2007


The only real reason to insist everyone covers up is not to keep us from seeing the pretty ones, but to allow us the luxury of not having to see the ugly ones.

Or maybe it's to dehumanise women and keep them in a constant reminder of their status as second-class beings who pretty much exist at the tolerance of men.

I know which one I'm betting on.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:57 PM on April 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


The image artifacts caused by photographing the design are identical in both versions.

This is utter bullshit. The Rainbow one has been completely redesigned - her hands are cropped off the top of the original version and it's lost its barcode on the back, and none of the others are pixel-for-pixel identical. Given that they're meant to be photoshopped versions of the same design, I can't see how there any more identical than they should be.

It's interesting that the quality of editing is in line with the technology of the time. The first two designs (from 1990/91) aren't photoshopped at all, just crudely darkened. The next one is from 1997 and has basic photoshopping, and the quality seems to get better. If they are fakes, they're really well thought through.

I find Mariah Carey offensive.

Radical thinking.
posted by cillit bang at 11:02 PM on April 21, 2007


the capri pants were SUCH a good call.
posted by tremspeed at 11:06 PM on April 21, 2007


Or maybe it's to dehumanise women and keep them in a constant reminder of their status as second-class beings who pretty much exist at the tolerance of men.

No, it's because if a Saudia Arabian man sees too much flesh, he is aroused so much that he would lose control of himself and immediately rape the closest female. And you couldn't even blame him.

... at least that's more or less what the Quran and many leading Islamic clerics say.
posted by sour cream at 11:07 PM on April 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanx for the link, I think.
posted by zudfunck at 11:10 PM on April 21, 2007


... at least that's more or less what the Quran and many leading Islamic clerics say.

I dig where you're going, I'm just annoyed at seeing misogyny denounced with... well... misogyny.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:10 PM on April 21, 2007


The fact is you can put a woman in a suit of armor or a radiation suit or an evening gown or a wine barrel. Doesn't matter. A man does not think about what fashion a woman is in; but rather how to get her out of it. That's rather universal, and putting more or less clothes on a picture will not change this behavior in men either way.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:25 PM on April 21, 2007


I have no opinion about whether these or real are not, but it really would not surprise me. It's also not unusual for mail screeners to go through catalogs--by hand--and color over women's legs with a marker.

Odd to us, yes. But not something to get all reactionary about.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:31 PM on April 21, 2007


A family friend lived in Saudi Arabia for several years, and had a subscription to Sports Illustrated. He never even got the swimsuit edition, but just the regular magazines got worked over by the mail censors. Every time a female athlete was shown in shorts or a sleaveless shirt, they would take a black permanent marker and draw a long skirt and sleaves on her.
posted by bookish at 11:32 PM on April 21, 2007


Heh, photoshopping out the "I Heart NY" was a nice touch.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:33 PM on April 21, 2007


ZachsMind: And we care about this because...? Why?

It's a slice-of-life thing: I thought it was interesting because it provides a glimpse of what's regarded as unacceptable/offensive in Saudi Arabia. (Like the commenter I quoted, I also found myself thinking that the Saudi versions were in better taste.)

To me, this is one of the interesting differences between traditional Arab and modern Western society.
The traditional Arab garb, with some exceptions, effectively conceals the outlines of the human figure [both for men and women], covering it from head to foot. In middle- and upper-class urban society, it was traditional for women to wear a veil over their faces; while a headcloth covered the head and hair of both men and women. Consequently, one of the first reactions of the Arabs to the appearance of Westerners was to judge them immodest and often immoral. This was the impression made on them by the European women's tight and often short skirts, fitted blouses with open necks and short sleeves or no sleeves at all, their elaborate and uncovered hairdos, their painted and unveiled faces; as well as by the men's tight trousers which outline the legs and buttocks, their short-sleeved and open-necked shirts....
From Raphael Patai, The Arab Mind. Patai makes the point that while Westerners are under the impression that Arabs must be extremely sexually repressed, these restrictions apply to public behavior, not private conduct.
posted by russilwvong at 11:49 PM on April 21, 2007


Wow, photoshop progress! Back when I lived in Saudi they just used black magic marker. You should see my Blondie albums.
posted by dabitch at 11:54 PM on April 21, 2007


sour cream: what? Nowhere in the Quran does it mention that women have to cover up because the men can't control themselves. Women have to cover up, yes, but for many many reasons; also, men have to make efforts to not be led into temptation (this goes for both genders really). In different Muslim countries, what constitutes as "covered up" is vastly different - you won't see a burqa in 95% Muslim Bangladesh, for example.

Speaking of which: Those covers look like the bootleg ones you can see all over Dhaka. Rarely will you find an original, but piracy is well and alive over there and a big business for music shops is making mix tapes and CDs, based on the songs they have in their inventory. The MegaStar covers look pirated too. I'm guessing some entreprising pirate decided to do some Photoshop while making fake covers for everything.
posted by divabat at 12:16 AM on April 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Living in Kuwait those "touch ups" are very well known. Thou I much prefer when they use the black marker. Since that is done on the clear plastic and not on the printing.

I should try to find the Archie comics where Betty and Veronica with the blacked out in bikinis. From what I heard the censors love just give that job to the new guy as a hazing method. Since we only see that happen around once a year.
posted by nibaq at 12:22 AM on April 22, 2007


She should always choose the more conservative clothing. That way, if while in Saudi Arabia she ever finds herself in a building which is on fire, the religious police might allow her to escape rather than to be burnt to death.
posted by homunculus at 12:42 AM on April 22, 2007


Interesting post, and I totally believe it. I live very close to Shadwell in London's East End and have seen defaced advertisements on bus shelters in the area when some folks don't like the flesh.

L'Oreal ads seem particularly offensive.
posted by Mutant at 12:54 AM on April 22, 2007


Their marketing people should enter Worth1000 contests.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:24 AM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


When my sister was about 9 she used a black permanent marker to draw clothes over a topless woman on a packet of incense we had.

I sense a job opportunity for her!
posted by knapah at 2:05 AM on April 22, 2007


I wonder if Mimi's flick would have done better with this approach. Seriously, Fox should consider re-releasing it as Goiter.
posted by rob511 at 2:08 AM on April 22, 2007


Freeeeedom for Mariah's Boobs!
posted by homodigitalis at 2:19 AM on April 22, 2007


she's a hottie.

i bet you'd nix half the violence in baghdad, if they just carpet bombed the place with penthouse, playboy, etc.

a bunch of dolts who've never been laid before, finally getting their hands on some high quality porn, would settle them down immensely i bet.

maybe they'd also have more respect for women in their culture, if they actually knew how damm fine some women look and are, vs. watching chicks with essentially bags over their heads all day long.
posted by jimjam at 2:55 AM on April 22, 2007


jimjam, Fark is that way →
For LGF, keep going, take the third right.
posted by Firas at 2:59 AM on April 22, 2007


It's always hilarious that Westerners, rather than focusing on the hard problems of women's rights, education, health etc. in Arab countries, seize onto the easy iconism of veils etc. and insist that a different standard of modesty is all that's required to finally make KSA a Fisher Price spectacle.
posted by Firas at 3:02 AM on April 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


Also, while Patai's work is an interesting pastiche, it's not posessed of any more intellectual rigour than the crappy orientalism of Ed Said's ilk.
posted by Firas at 3:26 AM on April 22, 2007


LOL MUSLIMS
posted by fandango_matt at 3:27 AM on April 22, 2007


* I meant Bernard Lewis, not Said.
posted by Firas at 3:30 AM on April 22, 2007


pants fetish, eh? well, i dig.
posted by wumpus at 4:42 AM on April 22, 2007


I don't like the music, but man she's got a great rack, I know why they do what they do those album covers, but I'm afraid they more they do this, the more they make themselves look like mindless followers of an archaic belief system. Next thing you know, they'll be treating their animals with more dignity then women and blowing themselves up in the same of some angry god. Oops!
posted by Chocomog at 4:53 AM on April 22, 2007


Because "I don't care what she does, but that's a great rack" is the apex of dignity.
posted by Firas at 5:23 AM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't know if those actual covers are fake, but I have been to Middle Eastern countries where they sell magazines like FHM, but someone has gone through every copy with a thick black marker and covered over the semi-naked women.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:28 AM on April 22, 2007


I checked up on this thread, I knew I shouldn't but what the hell.

russilwvong: The book you cite positively above, "The Arab Mind", is filled with racism and has as much "credibility" as your initial dated and dubiously sourced post. Here is a review in the Guardian.
posted by bhouston at 5:30 AM on April 22, 2007


jesus, firas - remove stick from anus, will ya?
posted by sergeant sandwich at 5:56 AM on April 22, 2007


jesus, firas - remove stick from anus, will ya?

Yeah, how dare he try to provide some facts and perspective to a LOL MUSLIMS thread? We're trying to have a Farkin' good time here!

Oh, and in case anyone's too lazy to click on bhouston's link and still wants to cite Patai as a reputable source, the guy starts a sentence "The all-encompassing preoccupation with sex in the African mind..." WAKE UP, WHITE PEOPLE!
posted by languagehat at 6:20 AM on April 22, 2007


I don't know if those actual covers are fake, but I have been to Middle Eastern countries where they sell magazines like FHM, but someone has gone through every copy with a thick black marker and covered over the semi-naked women.

Betty and Veronica comic books got the same treatment when I lived in Saudi.
posted by Cyrano at 6:26 AM on April 22, 2007


bhouston: I checked up on this thread, I knew I shouldn't but what the hell.

It's hard to stay away. Thanks for the Brian Whitaker link. I know Patai's book is problematic (this particular quote seemed reasonable to me); if you or Firas (or languagehat) can recommend better sources of information on Arab culture, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks to Firas and others for trying to educate some people here. There's a lot of misconceptions that Westerners have about Saudi Arabia and the Muslim world in general.

Whitaker's link points out that Patai's book is being used as a reference by the US military (as Ruth Benedict's The Chrysanthemum and the Sword was used during the occupation of Japan, although the US military wasn't using Benedict's book to fine-tune their methods of torture).
posted by russilwvong at 6:28 AM on April 22, 2007


No, how dare he try and make fun of how other people respond to the post. Yes, the post is about Muslims (so by all means, anyone should be free to provide facts and perspective when people start making crap up about Muslims) but hell, the post is also about Mariah Carey. ohnoes, one person called her a hottie and another said she had a nice rack. ohnoes! It's not we've got 1,000 posts about whether she should eat a sandwich and the merits of sharp knees.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:31 AM on April 22, 2007


While they were at it, couldn't they have done something about Photoshopping her creepy, dead eyes?
posted by EarBucket at 6:32 AM on April 22, 2007


facts? what facts? i see one two three four posts of snotty condescension and not a fact among them. though i suppose "way up high" is indeed a certain kind of perspective.

not trying to farkify this thread, either, i just have this kneejerk anti-pomposity mechanism... anyway, sorry to derail, i'll go now.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 6:32 AM on April 22, 2007


By the way, I've e-mailed the admins, so that they can keep an eye on it and nuke it if it turns into a total "LOL MUSLIMS" trainwreck.

Again, that wasn't my point--there's probably a lot of more traditional societies which view American culture this way, it's just that Saudi Arabia does something about it. But it was stupid of me not to realize that the thread could just turn into an opportunity for some commenters to haul out anti-Muslim stereotypes. I ought to have included something like this Margaret Bayles op-ed in the original post, or not made it at all.
posted by russilwvong at 6:48 AM on April 22, 2007


Pomposity? I'd wonder about anyone who's ever dined with a Libyan farmer's family who came away thinking "they treat their animals with more dignity then women." I'd wonder about anyone who's helped children climb short trees in the hills of Taif who came away thinking that 'those people' are essentially "a bunch of dolts who've never been laid before." It just didn't seem the kind of conversational environment I've known Mefi to be, hence my reaction.

It always really dismays me when people don't realize that Arabs, Westerners, and other sundry What-Have-Yous are both fucked up and normal in pretty much the same ways. And the Peggy Noonans of my experience deal with the world in far more black and white ways than most most mainstream Arab columnists.

So grant me my pomposity. My perspective isn't the one fucking up the planet.
posted by Firas at 6:55 AM on April 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Wow. This thread is kind of disturbing to me. Saudi Arabia is known as one of the most conservative islamic cultures there is, and many islamics around the world tend to agree that the things they say are in the Quran... aren't. The problem being that many, many people are not literate or have not read the Quran themselves so they have been led to trust what they've been told by the men in power... for generations. People can use the Quran to back up just about any opinion the same way people use the Bible to.

Saudi Arabia has a culture where women are not allowed to cross the street alone. Where if a woman needs to go shopping she should do so from her home, or if she walks into a store it needs to be emptied of all men who are not her husband first. It's far more extreme than most Muslim societies when it comes to its inherent misogyny (although they present it as that whole "woman are jewels to be protected" thing), but since they have a lot of money, oil, and power our government doesn't say a bad thing about their practices, they don't even pretend to be shocked by it even though they do things that are a million times more repressive than other places. In essence, this really isn't a shocking thing at all that they do bad photoshopping or magic markering over women. It'd be more shocking to me if they stopped it or if our government condemned Saudi Arabia the way they do other countries.

a bunch of dolts who've never been laid before...

I'm sorry... but please. If you're going to put people down as inferior to you, at least do it realistically. "Dolts who haven't been laid before?" That's not a good insult, it's just ignorant xenophobia. On the contrary, thanks to the acceptance of multiple marriages, mistresses & implied sexual slavery of women, many men in Saudi Arabia get laid whenever they want to (unlike men in America). There are incredible double standards and women aren't allowed the same independence to freely turn advances down when they are made. Marriages are mostly arranged & women aren't allowed boyfriends, but men are allowed to do whatever the hell they want. And they often do. And everyone is told the Quran says it's okay.

As a side note, when I was in Egypt I had the interesting experience of watching Saudis on vacation. I had just read Carmen Bin Laden's book on life in Saudi Arabia so I had some insights already. But seeing things in person fascinated me. When many Saudis are in their home country, they are so incredibly pious and sticking to such strong rules and mores. But when they leave... they do whatever they want until they have to go back home. It's like college kids who leave home to act up where they can't get into trouble.

One night a friend of mine & I were sitting at a table on a hillside, drinking tea & watching planes taking off from the Cairo airport. There were other tables around & the one next to us had cars parked around it, apparently to block other people's views. My view wasn't blocked though, so I became kind of fascinated with the people sitting there. There was a Saudi man and woman having a little feast, and with them was a man who was playing a stringed instrument & singing. Badly. (I'm sorry, but he was just awful.) I asked my friend what was going on. He said that they were obviously rich Saudis on vacation, and that they had paid the man to seranade them and wait on them. (I was willing to pay him to stop.)

As I watched the Saudis I saw a few PDAs between them, and I knew that not only would an Egyptian muslim not have behaved that way in public but that there is NO way that the behavior would've been acceptable in Saudi Arabia which is far more strict. I asked my friend and he confirmed it for me. Basically, Saudis often come to Egypt the same way that high school kids go to Cancun for spring break. It was fascinating to watch it in person though.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:08 AM on April 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


miss lynnster, women can go shopping wherever they want without anything being emptied (they have to wear abayas in public of course), but currently they're not allowed to drive (so... if they're Saudis they usually have drivers take 'em.)

But yeah, one of the strangest aspects of the culture is the general licentiousness of the young males (in all sorts of ways—lately they've been trying to get more Saudis into the workforce so it isn't entirely dominated by foreign skilled labour.)
posted by Firas at 7:18 AM on April 22, 2007


Hmmm, maybe it's just in certain places? That type of action was listed in 2 books I read as well as Inside The Kingdom (the Carmen bin Laden book). So I'm sorry if I got something wrong. Haven't been to SA yet to see for myself.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:37 AM on April 22, 2007


Yeah it could be true of certain places or times… and there could be class/nationality based differences (and self-imposed vs. regulatorily-imposed circumstances.)

It kinda boggles the mind though. It's definitely not a standard thing. A lack of women shoppers is like a national retail industry's worst nightmare.
posted by Firas at 7:49 AM on April 22, 2007


Well that's good. Because when I read it, I was taken aback. I specifically remember it in Inside the Kingdom. She needed baby formula and they kept bringing her something that wasn't good. She grew up in Switzerland and was used to western freedoms so she demanded to go to the store & buy the baby formula herself. As she wrote it, it was a big drama to make that happen. She might've had stricter rules upon her since she was in a powerful family, I'm not sure.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:03 AM on April 22, 2007


Says my bf: "I want an inflatable censorship cat."

I couldn't agree more.
posted by kavasa at 8:16 AM on April 22, 2007


What's with the lolli-pops?
*specter of diabetes looms*
posted by Wonderwoman at 8:34 AM on April 22, 2007


I think she looks better wearing less.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America

She looks like a chipmunk.
posted by delmoi

A sexy chipmunk.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America


I'm With Steve.
posted by micayetoca at 9:38 AM on April 22, 2007


Say what you want about Mariah Carey - it's kind of nice to remember a simpler time when not all famous women weighed 85 pounds.

We miss you, ANS.
posted by Nabubrush at 9:50 AM on April 22, 2007


23skidoo: "It's not we've got 1,000 posts about whether she should eat a sandwich and the merits of sharp knees."

Mariah Carey should eat a few dozen big macs, as she currently could poke your eye out with her elbow.

Earbucket: "couldn't they have done something about Photoshopping her creepy, dead eyes?"

What you think Adobe Photoshop is? A miracle making machine? That's too tall an order. You might as well ask it to induce talent.

RussilWVong: "...nuke it if it turns into a total 'LOL MUSLIMS' trainwreck."

Can we keep the thread if it just deteriorates into a "LOL MARIAH" train wreck? Cuz that's what I'm aiming for.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:26 AM on April 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is it just an optical illusion, or do her breasts actually look bigger post-photoshop (specifically in the Glitter pics)?
and yes, I've just lost any feminist street cred I may have once had by focusing on the size of her boobs and not the societal need to cover them up
posted by twoporedomain at 1:38 PM on April 22, 2007


Is it just an optical illusion, or do her breasts actually look bigger post-photoshop (specifically in the Glitter pics)?

I think it's just the increased contrast in the picture doing that. It makes the boob-shadow more pronounced.
posted by puke & cry at 1:51 PM on April 22, 2007


Assuming they're not fake, her album covers got some pretty good treatment. One would expect that the morality police would have simply scribbled over her naughty bits with a black marker.
posted by Xere at 2:39 PM on April 22, 2007


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