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Outrage over ‘sexy’ commercials prompts Iran to ban ‘women’ from advertising

After a ‘sexy’ commercial featuring a woman in a loose-fitting hijab biting a Magnum ice cream, the Ministry of Culture, Iran, and Islamic Guidance banned women from appearing in ads under the state’s strict chastity rules. Iranian clerics were enraged by the advertisement and urged officials to sue the local ice cream manufacturer Domino. The advertisement was deemed ‘against public decency’ and an ‘insult’ to ‘women’s values’ by officials.

Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance reportedly sent a letter to the country’s art and cinema schools, stating that women are no longer permitted to appear in advertisements due to ‘hijab and chastity rules’. The ban is based on Iran’s commercial ad rules, which forbid ‘instrumental use’ of not only women but also children and men. The definition of ‘instrumental use’ varies according to how strict the ruling administration is at the time.

Several women in the country protested the Islamic Republic’s enforcement of wearing hijab in public during the 1979 Islamic revolution. Many women removed their headscarves in public and on social media as a form of protest. Many women have also faced arrest and public backlash for wearing their hijabs while out in public.


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