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Emotions running high as provocative lingerie dummies drive Saudi shoppers wild

June 18, 2008 7:47 by

saudi arabia, lingerie, retail, arab news, shopping, malls, clothing, fashion, dummies, mannequinsIn the UK, with the government at its summer recess and the country in holiday mode, August is known by the media as ‘silly season’. It is a chance to run some less-than-serious stories - talking dogs and funny shaped vegetables feature heavily.

In Saudi, there is no beginning or end of silly season. The latest issue is the provocative nature of the country’s lingerie mannequins. Arab News says raunchy window dummies are embarrassing for families, but prove an irresistible draw for frustrated bachelors.

Abdullah Ahmed Al-Shehri and Mansoor Ahmed Muajeb, managers of a shopping mall, told the paper that the vulgar display of lingerie is embarrassing. “If I was passing by with my family and saw something displayed vulgarly on a mannequin, we would all find the situation awkward and embarrassing,” said Al-Shehri.

“Unfortunately, many shopkeepers believe women won’t buy lingerie if they don’t see them displayed interestingly,” said Muajeb.

“We don’t support the actual idea and that’s why we have private lingerie stores which men are not allowed to enter unless they’re accompanying their wives,” Al-Shehri said. The mall’s administration is considering banning the provocative display of lingerie, he adds.

Umm Abdullah said she often sees lingerie displayed inappropriately on mannequins, adding she feels it is unethical for shopkeepers to only be bothered about making money.

“I once approached a storeowner and told him it was not good to display such things on mannequins, especially in a mall for families,” she said. “I was shocked by his rude and arrogant response. He told me that if I didn’t like the item, I shouldn’t buy it or even look at it. I told him that everyone has a responsibility toward society and that I wasn’t going to back off.”

She then went to see the mall’s manager to report the salesman’s behavior.

The shop-owner, she said, was called in, and that the manager was shocked when he saw what was on display. “The manager then ordered the shop owner to remove the piece, and apologized on his behalf,” Umm Abdullah said.

She said the manager of the mall told her that shopkeepers are instructed against displaying lingerie on mannequins and that they often break the rules after complying for a few days.

Basma, 21, recalls a very upsetting and demeaning incident:

“I once passed a clothes shop in a mall. There was a pair of pants and a blouse displayed on a mannequin, and two store-workers standing close by. When they saw me, one of them pulled down the trousers,” she said, adding that she felt disgusted and embarrassed by the incident.

“Guys often hang around stores where lingerie is on display. I find the concept disturbing and I hate passing by places like that,” she said.

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