If you really care about women’s rights and you are in Saudi Arabia, then starting from the 13th of February 2010 and for two weeks boycott all lingerie shops that employ men. Get the word out and tell your friends to do the same. You’ll be helping more women get employed. You’ll break one of our main contradictions regarding interaction between men and women. And most of all, you’ll be supporting a Saudi women cause and helping them have a voice and impact.

Background Information:

This campaign was officially started in February 2009 by Reem Asaad, a Saudi lecturer at a college in Jeddah, and is now in its second phase. Its aim is to address a real contradictory issue here in Saudi Arabia concerning  men selling women lingerie. The contradiction is in the fact that we are supposedly the most conservative nation in the world and yet women here divulge their bra and undie sizes and colors to strange men on a regular basis. I have been to many countries, European, Arab…etc and I have yet to come across a lingerie shop or even section of a department store where a man is employed to help customers. Why is this? Because common decency and personal comfort dictate that the majority of women would much rather discuss and buy their underwear from another woman. This very simple fact somehow flew over our muttawas’ heads or they just felt that the oppression of women is more important than preserving a woman’s modesty. The minister of Labour, Dr. Al Qusaibi, attempted to tackle this issue by issuing a new law that only women were to be employed at lingerie shops. This was supposed to be effective in 2006. However powerful people behind the scenes have been able to delay its implementation. Why would they do that? Well it’s due to a multiple number of reasons:

1-     Many are muttawa and strongly believe that malls and shopping areas are tools of the devil. Hence if they could they would even ban women from shopping let alone working there.

2-     It costs money to get lingerie shops run by women muttawa compliant, what with screens on the windows and a guard at the door…etc.

3-     Women employees are more expensive. Saudi women are paid more and work shorter hours while men imported from poorer countries will work longer, for less.

4-     They just hate Dr. Al Qusaibi and his “liberal” ways and want to oppose him in anything and everything.

To join the campaign’s official Facebook page and show your support click here.


Filed under Informative, Women campaigns


  1. Thanks for making us all aware of this, and of the perspectives on the issue (otherwise it seems less of a big deal to buy lingerie from a man–as uncomfortable as that might be). I do hope the boycott is successful.

  2. why just two weeks? will this really make a serious difference to the owner’s bottom line? or the actuallity of things changing? how will anyone know why you’re boycotting?

  3. Hi

    I assisted the Lingerie KSA campaign in June 2009 and ran the two week course training women in the art of selling lingerie.

    The 1st year anniversary boycott for the campaign is important as it keeps this issue alive, requires more women to enter the workforce and allows women to feel comfortable when buying their intimate apparel.

    The boycott does have an impact as consumers ultimately do have power in how and where they spend their money.

    The more money that women spend in women only lingerie stores the more it demonstrates that women only stores are a financial success and what the consumer wants and is willing to pay for women only service.

    Interestingly women still purchase a large proportion of lingerie outside of KSA when people take holiday’s as they prefer the service outside of KSA.

    All that we can do is support Reem Asaad and her lingerie KSA campaign in the weeks, months & years to come

  4. Great thing! Thank you for letting us know! And to all Saudi Women – go for your rights and continue with campaigns!

  5. I do hope that this boycott is a success, although I have never and will never purchase my unmentionables here in KSA. I would rather go without than to buy my undergarments from a strange man. This is just one of those head-shaking contradictions about this country that just makes no sense whatsoever…
    When I am out and about during that two week period, I pledge that I will make it a point to enter any lingerie shops I see, ask for a woman to wait on me, and then turn around and walk out empty-handed!

  6. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Saudi Arabia: Ban men from selling lingerie

  7. Your post, reinforced by Qusay’s (half way through my comment I thought Duh, I could do one too) inspired my own:

    Susie, your photo of the panty pusher is there as is a statement summarizing your thoughts. Correct me if it is wrong, although I believe I captured the essence though less eloquently than your comment above. LOL 🙂

  8. I categorically refuse to buy lingerie from a man. I buy mine when I am abroad.
    The rule that women have to buy their most intimate apparel from MEN shows that the the people who make the rules do not have decency in mind but the oppression of women. All against what the quran teaches.

    It disgusts me that they have found yet another suitable profession for saudi women to ban them from. They prefer women having to be seized up by men for their intimate apparel to having saudi women earn some money, get out of the house, and most importantly: get some selfrespect!

    @ susie! I love your suggestion and will do the same!!!!

  9. Immaturely Mature

    You go girls!!
    Personally, I’ve been boycotting all my life. It’s inappropriate and it’s a big contradiction, indeed. Thank you for this awareness, I’ll let my Saudi relatives in on this 🙂

  10. Wonderful idea. I do not live in Saudi Arabia, but I am whole-heartedly behind my sisters in this boycott!!!

  11. kUkB


    wish u luck guys

    halla halla

  12. Pingback: Non puoi guardare qua sotto « Tutto in 30 secondi

  13. I’ve never bought a bra in KSA because of the men. I hated buying underwear in a department store in KSA. And there are enough women selling lingerie to actually fill the need of anyone wanting to buy. From coffee mornings to salons so why would any woman buy from a man?

  14. This is important boycott. I am for it totally. A group of women and I are getting together tonight to talk seriously the many issues that this boycott brings up including gender segregation and women in the workplace.

    Also it seems that some stores have heard the cry, in the Mall of Arabia the H&M has a small lingerie shop thats blocked off and its ladies only. Usually there is about two female employees with a proper fitting room.

  15. Aaishah

    More power! I would never buy lingerie from a man! How contradictory!

  16. Pingback: MyWorld: BAN THE BRA … salesmen!!! « JEDDAH DAILY PHOTO JOURNAL

  17. Shannon

    I find it interesting that you are boycotting buying lingerie from men, I understand the women’s movement and feminism but would this create more problems in Saudi Arabia in the long run?

  18. Pingback: Unnecessary Wars « Saudi Jeans

  19. This is a great idea and hope it really does do some help.

    I’m afraid I cannot take part in this as I’ve never in the year I’ve been here bought any underwear as I refuse to buy from male assistants when men are not supposed to even talk to a woman let alone know her intimate details and preferences for what is under her abaya, and also because, as a western woman, I am easily recognised as I do not wear a veil.

    So I have always, and will continue to, refuse to buy from, from these male orientated shop assistants and continue to order via the internet.

    Lets hope this works as I’d love to be able to actually see my items before I purchase them and also have to wait between 2-6 weeks for delivery.

  20. I guess life is made of small accomplishments. But I wonder when women in Saudi are going to do like Blacks in South Africa 20 years ago? Do not see any differences, actually I think Blacks were treated more decently in apartheid regime than women in Saudi. I lived there and still remember entering a fast food restaurant with a sign saying “no dogs or women allowed”. That was a few years back, but the progress seems pretty small. Trade in your Dolce Gabbana bras and jewels for small handguns and get to work!

  21. Hi Saudi Woman,

    I’d like to post this comment on the Observers website ( on a piece about the lingerie stores boycott. Let me know if you have any problem with that. Do you think you could send me a picture of you so that I create your profile page ?
    Let me know,

    Best regards


  22. default

    History maybe unfolding before our eyes as we speak. Education the bane of all totalitarian societies. The dark age crumbled when Martin Luther stood up against his church but upheld his belief. So maybe the women of Saudi will be the driving force to bring equality to the sexes. The hard part will be convincing the women that they are equal.

  23. I don’t really understand what the big deal is. Hire women. Problem solved 🙂

  24. Mich

    Wow, that’s interesting. I think lingerie is a basic part of a woman and is a part of a fashion in women.

  25. Alexandra

    Impatient stated: “Trade in your Dolce Gabbana bras and jewels for small handguns and get to work!”


    I’m with you!

    One does have to wonder why Muslim women, especially Saudi women, put up with discrimination against their gender. What have their men produced lately that is positive for their societies?

    I would recommend reading Aristophones’ “Lysístrata.” The Greek women refused their men sexual privileges in order to force these to negotiate peace in the interminable Peloponnesian War.


    deafault says: “The hard part will be convincing the women that they are equal.”

    Good question.

    Why do Muslim women roll over and take it? They can’t kill every woman!

  26. Alexandra

    Just noticed that I misspelled “Aristophanes” above, in case anyone is interested in the classic comedy and the thoughts below didn’t post:

    She who hides her face is in a position superior to mine – she sees me but she refuses to reciprocate.

    Elizabeth Badinter
    French Feminist campaigner


    To me, the full veil, the covered face, it’s a woman in a portable coffin

    Andre Gerin
    Communist MP, France


    I would agree with both of the quotes above. On the one hand a veiled Muslim woman believes herself to be morally superior to all other women especially western women, on the other hand she is inferior to men, in particular Muslim men, as the Qur’an claims.

    As Mr. Gerin has stated, a fully veiled woman is wearing a shroud. Perhaps this is yet another reason why there are so few tourists visiting Islamic lands? One the danger; two the lack of personal, gender freedom. Why should anyone give tourist dollars to nations that treat women, even non-Muslim women as second class human beings?

    Odd that Muslims demand that the world play by their rules in their lands and then demand the same thing when they come to non-Islamic lands.

    How is that fair?

    Saudi woman, what say you?

  27. I am sure Saudiwoman can speak for herself. Both quotes from the French represent what niqab means to them, not to the niqabis. Badinter is brilliant and captures well what a non-niqab wearing woman may feel, which is not necessarily what is intended by the person in the niqab. (I know, I’ve been on the non-niqab side of the conversation many times, and enough to know the intent). Guérin I don’t know, but his is the standard issue leftist position on feminism.

    Aristophanes’ Lysistrata is a comedy with farcical elements and absurdist twists. At a deep level it is neither feminist (women are irrational creatures) or pacifist (Reconciliation is a prostitute), but a good commentary on the impasse in the Peleponnesian war at the time of its performance in 411BC.

  28. See even after the draw Muhammad w the face of a dog fiasco on face Book u still want to support this lingerie thing on face book.

    Just move here. You can gobto Victoria secret etc and all the fun stuff.

    No needto run national campaigns against God fearing people or suffer under their injustice against the greates fitnah other than dajjaal

  29. AstonishedMuslimah

    I was soo shocked when i came for umrah… me and another sister went into the lingerie shop in the mall, assuming there would be womening SURELY working at least in this store. But Behold..! When we wanted a fitting or the sister wanted to see if her size was there (she needed a bigger size) I realised there was no woen at all..i was flabbergasted and we just left… to those of u who reside in KSA how and where do you buy the online?! goodluck on the boycotting i really hope it works.

  30. Sharon

    I don’t see what the fuss is all about. Anyway the men wont be able to identify us from behind our veils. Why can’t we see them as brothers instead of sexualized strangers. I see this as an attempt to malign KSA and it’s culture. Just because you have a blog it doesn’t give you a license to create havoc.

  31. Yeah Sharon, You see him as a brother.. he DEFINITELY will not see you as a sister.. it is not FOR Your perception that you cover, it is for what will happen when someone else sees you in their WAY…
    This lady is not creating havoc.. she is pointing out faults that NEED to be fixed SOON.

    • Sharon

      I disagree. If the mullahs have decided that men should sell bras it is for a very valid reason. The rules always have their basis in some hadith and before we ridicule them, let us check what the scriptures are saying. I understand that my sisters will be uneasy revealing size to strangers but let’s not get anti national because of this.

      • Dr. M. Abdulrahman

        Dear Sharon have you read what the article is about? I’m not sure that you are a woman but have you ever bought any clothes whatsoever? as a man I did some clothing shopping for myself and I assure you that anyone will need help. Bras are unique and need great help and personal information. so is underwear. I can’t let my wife explain her body parts to another man. That is stupid. That is why all woman’s clothing stores should have woman clerks let alone lingerie shops.

        Please don’t say Hadith said that either. It is really really stupid thing to say. Use your brain.

      • Sharon

        “Bras are unique and need great help and personal information. ”

        You have no idea about woman’s clothing do you? They all are in standard sizes and dont need ‘personal information’. In fact my husband regularly purchases them for me. My point is that as a woman, this is completely a non issue for me. So why are men getting so worked up about this? I see it as yet another way to impose stereotypes that women are weak and need protection.

  32. Valerie

    I am British and applaud the sentiments made by all Saudi Ladies in this cause. From a western point of view your religious leaders are not merely insulting women but denying them a basic rite as I understand from the Koran, however it is far more than that and maybe this is what they cannot see from their seclusion is that this attitude is the very thing that makes your relious leaders look increasingly stupid by their closed minded attitude to this and many other dated rules. I mean no insult whatsoever, but World opinion is against them and is doing them more self damage than the west could ever do. If only they would realise that this breeds contempt and not harmony towards Islam..

  33. tara

    Val is right, I have monitored this article for many months now and have witnessed some real hypocrites in London Lingerie chain stores. There have been women completley covered by their black robes but underneath they have been wearing the most revealing and sexy underwear imaginable, the question is who is this for and where did they buy it.? I bet this was not sold to them by a man but a helpful and sympathetic woman and it is for the woman to feel sexy towards her man and no other. Even in the west a woman would not be served by a man when buying something so personal as lingerie so why should the KSA be any differant.? Because the mullahs make the rules, because they are of closed minds and usualy too old to appreiate the true beauty of a woman or her feelings let alone consider the husbands feelings at his wife being placed in this awful situation. Stone the mullahs for a change.!!

  34. Pingback: More Saudi Heroes « Saudiwoman’s Weblog

  35. Faiz Maharoof

    Excellent move. lingerie shops should be managed and run completely by women.

  36. Angelina

    Unmarried men are not permitted to go to malls, yet strange, even foreign men can sell intimate garments to women who are not family?

    Women in cages, behind screens, with guards at the door, while men are deemed wild beasts who would attack a woman if he saw a few centimeters of skin, does not sound very civilized.

    What sort of people live in Saudi Arabia that such things must be done? They all sound mentally ill.

    ”Excellent move. lingerie shops should be managed and run completely by women.”

    More Saudi discrimination, this time against men. It appears that the holy kingdom is all about discrimination and bigotry, as well as the suppression of human rights and equality for either gender.

    In north America, including Canada, a few men do work in lingerie shops, however, they are typically very effeminate. Men and women most certainly own and run such shops. In Europe both men and women work in lingerie and shops that sell erotic items.

    Years ago lingerie shops were typically staffed by older women who were called “fitters.” These ladies really knew what they were doing. They could merely look at a woman and often, correctly determine her size. They showed how to properly put on an undergarment and made sure that it fit and flattered. The world could use those women again, because today so many women wear ill-fitting foundation garments.

    What a shame that the gorgeous windows of Victoria’s Secret shops in KSA would have to be covered. Window shopping with your partner is part of the fun. In the U. S. one can see many a man waiting for his partner who is in the changing room tying on items that will please them both.


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  39. Ellen

    woo…hoo… just read the news here in Australia that this campaign has been successful and Saudi women will at last be able to shop for lingerie with dignity!! Congratulations and keep up the good (but hard) work ladies 🙂

  40. Let’s ban women from working in shops that sell condoms or men’s underwear too! Equality… remember!

  41. why worry of entering into a shop to buy lingerie? Just log on to and they ll ship you the most intimate lingerie with an option of cash on delivery anywhere in the world

  42. This is essential boycott. I am for it definitely. A wide range of females and I am getting together nowadays to discuss seriously the many concerns that this boycott provides up such as sex segregation and ladies in the work environment.

  43. May I simply say what a comfort to find somebody who really knows what they are discussing on the net. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people have to check this out and understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular given that you surely possess the gift.

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