If women in Saudi Arabia want to purchase lingerie, they will find shops that are staffed entirely by men, the BBC reports.
Three years ago, Saudi Arabia actually approved a law allowing women to work in shops that sell items for women, but changing years of tradition and overcoming resistance from religious leaders have proven more difficult than simply adopting a new law, the BBC notes.
Now, some women are pushing for change by boycotting retailers, saying women shouldn't be forced to have discussions about their intimate apparel with male strangers. One of the leaders of the call for change is Reem Asaad, a professor at Dar al-Hikma Women's College in Jeddah.
“The way that underwear is being sold in Saudi Arabia is simply not acceptable to any population living anywhere in the modern world," she tells the BBC. “This is a sensitive part of women's bodies. You need to have some discussions regarding size, color and attractive choices and you definitely don't want to get into such a discussion with a stranger, let alone a male stranger. I mean this is something I wouldn't even talk to my friends about."
Besides making women uncomfortable, the shops staffed entirely by men also make lingerie shopping more difficult. For example, women cannot be measured for a proper size because strict segregation laws prohibit physical contact between unmarried men and women, the BBC reports. Also, lingerie shops cannot have fitting rooms, so women must purchase the lingerie before they even know whether it fits.