Friday, February 12, 2010

More Lingerie in Saudi Arabia--Bought Elsewhere!

Today, February 13th in KSA, is the start of the planned 2-week boycott of buying lingerie from male salesclerks in Saudi Arabia, BAN MEN FROM SELLING LINGERIE IN KSA. As I mentioned in my first post on this topic, "Lingerie in Saudi And Social Activism", the purpose of the boycott is "to protest the current situation of men only selling women’s lingerie in Saudi Arabia, and the evasion of legislation to increase women’s employment by having them work in lingerie shops"; and, "it seems important to me that women’s employment opportunities be increased including at this starting point, and that women who are uncomfortable shopping for lingerie from men have the option locally to be served by a woman."

Since then, Susie of Arabia, on her Jeddah Daily Photo Journal, and Ahmed on Saudi Jeans have added posts to spread the word, "myworld: ban the bra...salesmen!!!" and "Unnecessary Wars", respectively.

Commentators here, on my earlier post, and elsewhere have added their support and suggestions for the ban, and for continuing it longer or indefinitely. Here is a compilation of ideas.

Stock up when you are outside of Saudi, or have someone else do it for you in another country.
Buy online from a reliable shop, once you know size, style, make, etc. Least expensive mailing options include the KSA post.
Buy directly online from the company, or a major catalogue.
Buy from lingerie parties in KSA, including holding your own lingerie parties.
Buy in KSA from the few shops that do have women salesclerks, and support the boycott: Nawomy and Change are two such.
Walk into a shop, ask for a woman salesclerk and walk out when you are told there are none.
Spread the word, via friends, social groups, online social networks, etc.

Happy shopping--elsewhere!

*Addendum: Arab News reports on the campaign, in "'Manned' Lingerie Shops Targeted", highlighting the shops which are female only, the support of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), and the CPVPV's non-objection to women working as salesclerks in women's malls. Most significantly, the article reports that the women's lingerie market is 17% of the total women's apparel market. In other words, a serious boycott would hurt.

To reprise the questions from the earlier post:

How comfortable would you, woman or man, feel purchasing women’s lingerie from a man?
Would it matter his origin, ethnicity, or sexual orientation?
What do you think of boycotts?
Are some unethical?
Are you currently participating in a boycott? Of what, and why?

Any other suggestions?
Further comments, thoughts, experiences?


oby said...

I would not be comfortable buying lingerie from a man. That might be because in USA most lingerie is either self serve, Ie: off the racks or generally women are in charge of it. I simply cannot remember a man ever being in the lingerie section of a store. I couldn't help but feel he might be "sizing me up" even if he wasn't. I would feel too self conscious. Also, I think the younger you are the more difficult it might be as young people have not come into their full maturity and might not have a more "composed" attitude about it. Similar to when I was young and buying feminine products, god forbid a man came down the aisle...I would turn and pretend to be perusing something entirely different and non embarrassing.

I am not sure that his ethnicity would matter, but his sexual orientation might matter. If he were gay,I might be more comfortable because I would know I am not his cup of tea and therefore he probably would not be "checking me out". Not that I am is in the woman's head whether or not it is happening.

I think a boycott (at least in this case) is an ethical and non violent way of making your voice heard which to me is the best way of expressing yourself.

Qusay said...

Thanks for the pics :)

Souma said...

I got my first bra abroad, but then when i needed to buy more when i was back home it felt so strange. even after so long i still try to find my size on my own and I always bring my mother along.

some salesclerks make me uncomfortable. I personally don't like those who make suggestions. asking "some" questions is ok with me, such as if I'm looking for a size he can get me or a specific colour. the manner in which he asks a question is important, he must sound professional, in an i-am-doing-this-for-a-living-and-not-to-screw-around tone.

and yes, i am currently boycotting. Those strange double standards this society holds must come to an end.

Chiara said...

Oby--thanks for your comment which captures well the embarrassments of women at a variety of ages and in different circumstances. Women with large feet tell me they hate male shoe salesclerks.

Short story writer Alice Munro, particularly in her collection Lives of Girls and Women is also good on these sorts of feelings which aren't often discussed openly.

I am not so sure I would care as much about the man's sexual orientation as how good a salesperson he was, eg. professional demeanor, knowledgeable about his own stock, and leaves the sizing to me! LOL :)

I do think there are many instances when boycotting is an excellent and ethical strategy; and that this is one of them.

Chiara said...

Qusay--You are welcome. Somehow I knew before checking that these are the pics, rather than those of the football players, and hockey players in the previous posts, that you were referring to. LOL :)

Souma--thanks for sharing your direct experience. I agree with your criteria for a professional attitude; and strategy for dealing with shopping for a bra in Saudi pre-boycott. Great to hear that you are boycotting. I hope many women do, and for a long enough time to make the industry wake up, and wake the powers that be up as well.

Inal said...

May all women be able to buy what they need and want without the male eye all over the place! Insha'Allah!

Chiara said...

Inal--Welcome and thank you for your comment! I agree!

Love Lingerie said...

Wow, never thought that there were male salespersons for lingerie!
I must say that female salespersons should assist us in buying lingerie since they basically understand what we need.


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