Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Men STILL working in women's lingerie in Saudi Arabia

And women still aren't.

Reem Asaad finds it annoying to buy her bras and panties from a man. But she doesn't have much choice in the matter. Although Saudi Arabia has the strictest gender segregation in the world, only men are hired as sales staff in most retail stores. "We have men selling g-strings in stores to women which doesn't happen anywhere in the world," said Asaad.

But the 37-year-old professor of finance and banking is even more frustrated that a three-year-old regulation permitting female sales clerks has not been implemented.
One 21-year-old Saudi man who works in a lingerie chain called "Women's Secret" is too embarrassed to tell his friends. "I swear before I took this job, I never even went into these stores with my sisters and family because I was too embarrassed and now I work in one," he said.
Salahuddin Younus, who works in the lingerie section of Debenhems, a large department store, said that after a year and a half, he has gotten used to dealing with customers, most of whom cover themselves head to toe, including their faces. "Some customers say, 'My breast is going down. I need to push up,'" said the salesman, who is from Bangladesh, grabbing a push-up bra from a rack.
For previous Emirates Economist coverage of this lingerie issue on the Arab peninsula just click the lingeria label at the end of the post.



Blogger nzm said...

Little wonder that the planes to London and Europe are packed with Saudi women wanting to buy lingerie in other countries.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well things are changing, especially in Jeddah.

I will be flying to Jeddah, after being invited to run the Art of Selling and Fitting Lingerie to train the first group of women that will be ready to take on the their new roles of trained lingerie fitters in Saudi.

6:32 AM  

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