According to the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, authorities have taken action against the Tehran-based brand Domino Dairy for an ice cream commercial that shows a "provocative” image of a woman.
The advertisement showed an attractive woman, wearing a loose-fitting headscarf, who seemed to be smiling and winking at someone on the passenger side while driving her car towards a mountain area. She parks the car and reaches over to the passenger seat, where she collected a chocolate-covered ice cream treat. She unwraps it, and with her eyes closed, she takes a bite. The product she was eating looked like a local copycat version of a Magnum, a Belgian brand of ice cream.
This ad was posted online but was removed after being discovered by the ministry overseeing advertisements.
Some media outlets condemned the clip calling it “disgusting.” Some said it portrayed “misused women.” This term has been used to legally shut down creators and publishers that do not abide by the Islamic criteria, referring to Chapter 8 of the Islamic Republic’s Advertisement Laws and Regulations, highlighting the “misuse” of women, men, and children, is not allowed in commercial ads.
Aside from “deviant” content, there are other taboos for women appearing on big or small screens.
One of these is to ensure that the “ear volume” of one of the actresses should not be visible, or the headscarf or the veil she is wearing must be tight enough to cover their hair and ears.
Shahram Karami, a Kermanshah prosecutor, stated that it is “immoral” for women to show their hair in fashion advertisements. This conservative dress code for women has been strictly enforced.
Amir Mahdi Juleh, an Iranian screenwriter, posted his pushback about this on his Instagram post last August 27.
“We never understood what irritating element they had discovered in the ear volume of an actress under her scarf or what exactly comes into their minds when they think of ears,” the post reads.
Award-winning actress Mitra Hajjar responded on Twitter, saying, “This is how they glue our ears so that, God forbid, they’re not seen.”
میترا حجار در اعتراض به رسانه ملی: گوش هایمان را چسب می زنند تا دیده نشوند! میترا حجار نیز به چالش #من_و_سانسورچي امیرمهدی ژوله پیوست.
حجار توی این ویدئو نشون میده که تلویزیون گوش های زنان را چطور چسب می زند، که دیده نشود! pic.twitter.com/bzC7KBTD6N
— زهرا کشوری (@zahrakeshvari) August 30, 2018
Advertisements that portray women eating pizza and sandwiches are also prohibited in Iran. Women are also not allowed to hold red-colored drinks in advertisements nor wear leather gloves. For men, there is a ban on scenes in which they pour tea for women.
With the strict rules on hand, any photos or videos of women and men, specifically in a domestic setting, must have clearance from the IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting), a state-controlled media corporation. The IRIB is responsible for monitoring all the pictures and videos before broadcasting or posting them for public use.
Failure to follow the rules and guidelines results in bans, and the responsible advertising group is served with required warnings and admonitions.