Iran bans women’s ads after ice cream ad cites hijab, chastity rules

An ad in Iran that showed a woman eating ice cream has led to a ban on commercials for women in the country. According to the Mirror, Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance made the call, citing the kingdom’s strict “purity rules”. The announcement came shortly after the country’s Islamic leaders erupted over an ice cream advertisement featuring a woman wearing a hijab and biting into a chocolate ice cream stick. According to the publication, outraged by the ad, Iranian clerics urged authorities to prosecute the ice cream maker. In a letter issued by Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, he said the ad went “against public decency” and further, he believed it was an “insult” of “women’s values”.

In a letter sent to the country’s art and cinema schools, the ministry cited “hijab and chastity rules” for the ban, which bar women from appearing in any advertisements. The letter reportedly states that the ban complies with decisions issued by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution.

In addition, it also stresses long-enforced country rules and regulations relating to commercial advertisements, which reportedly prohibit the “instrumental use” of not only women but also children and men. However, according to the Mirror, the interpretation of “instrumental use” depends on how rigid the ruling administration is at a given point in time.

The ban comes after Iranian women took part in a social media campaign against hijab enforcement street patrols by the Islamic Republic. Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, which led to an increase in religious conservative laws, the hijab has been made compulsory for women in Iran. Despite women in the country repeatedly opposing it and even facing severe punishment for their activism, the ruling remains in place.

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