For Saudi Women, Lingerie Shopping Sucks

When I first started developing in the chest department, my mother dragged me to Victoria’s Secret’s semi-annual sale to get measured so I would have proper fitting undergarments. I absolutely hated the experience. How embarrassing to strip down and have a stranger measure your assets! Luckily, I grew up, and bra shopping is no longer awkward. For women in Saudi Arabia, however, the experience is still an uncomfortable one.

The people who work in lingerie stores are largely male, contrary to a law that has been in effect since 2006 saying that only female staff can be employed in women’s stores. There are a few reasons that it hasn’t been enforced: employing women would mean even more than 10 percent of the countries male population would be unemployed, and many in the religious establishment oppose allowing women to work in places where men and women can mix, such as malls. Some women feel so uncomfortable buying bras and underwear — whether sexy or not — from men that they go to neighboring Dubai to shop. And now, many are boycotting lingerie stores that don’t employ women in hopes that that law will finally be enforced.

The lack of women workers isn’t the only problem with the shopping experience in Saudi Arabia, however. In the kingdom, fitting rooms are banned, so women never even know if they have the correct size until they get home. “I have bras with sizes ranging from 32 to 38 because I can’t get to try them on,” said Modie Batterjee, one of the boycott organizers. Shopping sounds like absolutely no fun in Saudi Arabia. [AP via Huffington Post]