Our Skivvies, Ourselves: Saudis Seek Female Sellers

Lingerie stores can employ women, but don't
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 25, 2009 10:56 AM CST
Unrelated women and men cannot be alone in a room together in Saudi Arabia, but men sell women's undergarments.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Saudi women aren’t allowed to be alone in a room with an unrelated man, but they have to buy their undergarments from men, a situation some are calling unacceptable. In theory, women are permitted to work in shops selling women’s products, but the traditional society has, somewhat ironically, ensured that only men take those jobs, the BBC reports.

Looking to minimize embarrassing encounters with salesmen and hampered by a lack of changing rooms, Saudi women often buy items that don’t fit, and end up discarding their purchases. A movement on Facebook, started by a Saudi professor, has taken the tack of boycotting any male-staffed lingerie stores. “We the consumers are the final decision-makers,” she says.