An Iranian music streaming website Melovaz recently came under fire for removing images of women from album covers. World-famous artists like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Lana Del Ray were removed from the artwork of their own albums. What’s more, if the album covers featured men – these men were left intact, while the women were photoshopped out.
When I stumbled upon this story, I browsed a bit through Melovaz in search of albums and singles by female artists. Indeed, the images of female artists had been removed from the covers of their own albums. In fact, even a sketched woman was removed from one (just check out Nicki Minaj’s album art below).
Interestingly enough, men were left intact. Even if an album comes from a female artist, if its cover features a man, you’ll still see him there. Take a look at Lana Del Ray’s album cover, for example.
There is one case where the man was photoshopped out, too. I wonder why though. It could have been a mistake.
Fan bases have been reacting to these photoshopped album covers on Melovaz, mainly via Twitter. Iggy Azalea tweeted: “The jokes on them cause I put a vagina reference in every song so who really won.”
The jokes on them cause I put a vagina reference in every song so who really won. https://t.co/LqLiuGpS8F
— IGGY AZALEA ? (@IGGYAZALEA) September 29, 2019
Look at this atrocity askjskjkss. Even Twice is not safe from being erased lmao pic.twitter.com/kbFTlX6Hjs
— izzi (@IzzRaifHarz) September 29, 2019
“The edits are a major symptom of the harsh restrictions on women’s self-expression, especially in music, that are institutionalized in Iran under Islamic law,” Insider writes. “The country maintains under the law that it is illegal under most circumstances for a woman to be seen uncovered, and in this case, that seems to apply to women who don’t outwardly practice Islam, and aren’t physically in the country.”
We encountered a similar case of photoshopping album covers and wrote about it back in 2017. The reason was the same – to make the album art comply with Islamic modesty laws. However, the women were still present on those album covers, only “dressed” with some help from Photoshop. In the case of Melovaz, they have been completely removed from album art.
I absolutely don’t want to get political and discuss the laws of a country I don’t live in. But I know one thing: if I were a singer and I was removed from my own album art… I wouldn’t be pleased, to say the least.
Insider reached out to Melovaz for a comment, but there’s no update yet. Still, at the time of writing this, the altered album covers remain on the website.