Katy Perry Gets Collared (And Capri-Pantsed) By Saudi Arabia’s Fashion-Morality Police

noah | April 16, 2009 3:30 pm

On the left, the cover of the ever-annoying Katy Perry‘s One Of The Boys as signed off on by the EMI art department. On the right, the cover of a copy of One Of The Boys that blogger Susie Of Arabia bought at a shop in Saudi Arabia for her kid*. You may notice a difference between the two—although you may not notice, given the fact that you’re looking at the two covers on a screen, that one is colored in with marker. It’s the work of Saudi Arabia’s Committee For Protection Of Virtue and Prevention Of Vice, which keeps sexism alive and well makes sure Saudi citizens adhere to Islamic guidelines regarding dress, morality, and prayer. The committee even has police, who are apparently armed with felt-tip pens for any trips they might make to the record store.

Susie explains the doctoring, which also happened to other photos within:

Now those of you who have purchased CDs know how much trouble it is to take that plastic wrap off. And then to remove the front insert and especially removing the back insert from the CD case without breaking the plastic case can be tricky. So what it all boils down to is that the Saudi government is actually paying religious police members of the Committee for the Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CVPVP) to remove the plastic wrap from these CDs, open up the CD cases, remove the front and back inserts, and carefully and painstakingly color in with a marker any photos baring exposed female flesh that is deemed objectionable. Hence, while the general public is protected from such vulgarity, the CVPVP members get to view photos with women’s flesh abounding and then get to stroke on colored markers over the exposed women’s skin. I wonder what they are thinking or how they feel as they stroke those markers onto the smooth female flesh in the photos. I wonder if it makes them feel good that they are shielding young teenage boys from such crude displays of the nubile female form.

I’m going to leave that question up to Susie, since she knows a lot more about the ins and outs of the committee. What I’m really curious about is the whole notion of whether or not the version of Boys that made it to shelves over in Saudi Arabia is lyrically censored, since I would imagine that barbs like “you PMS like a bitch, I should know” would make the morality cut—never mind that whole fake-lesbian thing. Is it a sign that Perry’s music isn’t as “sexy” as she would like, or is it just harder to sell CDs that have bits scratched out?

X-Treme Censorship [Susie’s Big Adventure via Current; HT Christopher R. Weingarten]

* Not to get all morality-police, but do you want to talk about questionable parenting decisions? Sheesh.