Saudi Arabia has no idea how to treat a lady. It's jailed women for coed Stabucks runs. Banned the sale of Valentine's Day gifts, which might not be a terrible idea with so many unwilling valentines. And now the story of women uncomfortably buying lingerie from male sales clerks has emerged.
To be fair, the Saudi government passed a law in 2006 that allows women to work in shops that sell women's items. But the men who stand to lose jobs have little incentive to hire them. It doesn't help that Muslim clerics, who wield considerable power in the religious country, believe home is where the woman is.
Adding to the problem, the kingdom's religious police have banned fitting rooms in lingerie shops along with physical contact between unmarried men and women. Shoppers can't be properly measured and are forced to buy bras without trying them on. Most are too embarrassed to return what doesn't fit.
Now one woman hopes to unravel the status quo with the help of others. To find out how,
Reem Asaad, a college professor, is sidestepping the government and religious establishment to call on women to boycott lingerie stores staffed by men. "We the consumers are the final decision makers," said Asaad. "We decide what to buy or not to buy, and that's where it will hit the most — in the pocket."