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Gender & Lingerie in Saudi Arabia

This year, 2012 is starting off with a lingerie law being enforced in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is a holy country, one that every Muslim, no matter where they are born, should travel to at least once in their lifetime. Mecca is within the country’s borders, and Islam is the nation’s religion.

Due to the fact that Saudi Arabia boasts holy ground, Islamic religious law is upheld very strictly within the country’s borders, and the law that presides over common life and domesticity is called Sharia law.  One of the steadfast understandings within Sharia law is that women and men that are not related or married must not interact in common areas.

In shopping malls, where both men and women congregate, certain measures are taken to ensure that the mixing of the sexes does not take place.  Women are not allowed to work in certain arenas where they exposed to men privately, and one of the most prominent places where this has been a problem has been the intimate apparel stores within the country.

Until now.

Women within Saudi Arabia have boycotted stores where they must pay a male clerk for their undergarments, where they feel uncomfortable with the exchange. Their silent standpoint has been recognized by the state.  Technically, a law was passed in 2006 that mandated only women work within intimate apparel stores. This way, the man behind the counter would be eliminated from the equation, and female shoppers could pay female workers for their purchases.

As of January 5th, the 2006 law that forbade men to sell lingerie began to be enforced for the first time. For the first time in the country’s history, women can shop for their lingerie with their dignity intact, and protected by law.

The business of selling lingerie within the guidelines of Sharia law is a very difficult procedure to uphold. Not all of the religious clerics are pleased, and there is opposition on some fronts.  Only time will tell how the country will be affected by this radical shift in view.

Do you think this change in law which empowers Saudi women’s right to buying lingerie from female sales representatives will be upheld? Leave a comment below, email me, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter (@nowthatslingeri)!


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Woman and man in lingerie store:

Man selling lingerie:



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