Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Underwear Uproar in Saudi Arabia

There is an article today on BBC News (you can read the entire article by clicking here) on the underwear uproar in Saudi Arabia – that to buy underwear, women have to deal with male clerks. And more – there is nowhere to try on a bra to make sure you get the right fit! You have to pay, go to the public restroom, try it on and bring it back if it is not right.

One of the most amazing things to me, besides having only men selling underwear in Saudi Arabia, was the fact that the most amazing lingerie was in the most public windows. My favorite I-would-love-to-take-this-photo moments was watching abayed and niqabed women standing next to some of the tiniest, most sexy underwear you could imagine.

i know you think we are looser in the west, but you would laugh to know how restrained we really are. For the most part, we just don’t discuss underwear.

And have you noticed – in the United States, the mannekins don’t have nipples? I was shocked the first time I saw mannekins in Europe and the Middle East – the females had nipples! I had to look away! We are prudish in funny ways, in ways you can’t begin to imagine, and in ways we don’t even realize until we are confronted with our own what-we-think-is-normal.

I cannot imagine men in the ladies lingerie section. I buy all my underwear back in the US; I am too shy to buy underwear from a man! In Kuwait, they have females selling La Perla, very nice underwear, but most of the really good ready-made clothing in Kuwait is for size 00 – 2 girls – not for grown up women. It’s just easier buying my “unmentionables” discreetly on my trips back home. I carry a list. Most of us do. 😉

Here is the article:

Saudi lingerie trade in a twist

By Stephanie Hancock
BBC News, Jeddah

It would be bizarre in any country to find that its lingerie shops are staffed entirely by men.
But in Saudi Arabia – an ultra-conservative nation where unmarried men and women cannot even be alone in a room together if they are not related – it is strange in the extreme.
Women, forced to negotiate their most intimate of purchases with male strangers, call the situation appalling and are demanding the system be changed.

“The way that underwear is being sold in Saudi Arabia is simply not acceptable to any population living anywhere in the modern world,” says Reem Asaad, a finance lecturer at Dar al-Hikma Women’s College in Jeddah, who is leading a campaign to get women working in lingerie shops rather than men.

“This is a sensitive part of women’s bodies,” adds Ms Asaad. “You need to have some discussions regarding size, colour 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.”

In theory, it should be easy enough to get women to staff lingerie shops, but parts of Saudi society are still very traditional and don’t like the idea of women working – even if it’s just to sell underwear to each other.

Rana Jad is a 20-year-old student at Dar al-Hikma Women’s College, and one of Reem Asaad’s pupils and campaign supporters.

“Girls don’t feel very comfortable when males are selling them lingerie, telling them what size they need, and saying ‘I think this is small on you, I think this is large on you’,” she says.
“He’s totally checking the girls out! It’s just not appropriate, especially here in our culture.”

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Saudi Arabia, Shopping | 7 Comments

Amnesty International Report on Gaza

This is just an excerpt from a much longer article on Wired.com. You can read the entire article by clicking on the blue type.

Tracking Down Gaza War’s Deadly, Mysterious Cubes
By David Hambling February 24, 2009 | 11:21:49 AMCategories: Ammo And Munitions, Missiles, Sabras

An unidentified weapon packed with strange “cube shaped shrapnel” killed or wounded civilians in the recent Gaza war, according to a new report from Amnesty International.
Amnesty’s report on weapons used by both sides in Gaza finds much to condemn. The group is particularly hard on the U.S., having found numerous remains of American munitions — including white phosphorus shells from Pine Bluff Arsenal, and a Hellfire missile made in Orlando. Another weapon which bothers Amnesty is a mysterious munition, filled with cubic particles.

cube2_2

“Amnesty International delegates in Gaza also found evidence of the use of a new type of missile, seemingly launched from unmanned drones, which explodes large numbers of tiny sharp-edged metal cubes, each between 2 and 4 mm square in size. This purpose-made shrapnel can penetrate even thick metal doors and many were seen by Amnesty International’s delegates embedded deep in concrete walls. They appear designed to cause maximum injury…

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Community, Crime, Living Conditions, News, NonFiction, Technical Issue | , , , | Leave a comment

Kuwait Independence / Liberation Holiday Treat

My friends, run to the nearest newsstand and pick up a copy of today’s Arab Times. On page 3, one of Kuwait’s most eminent bloggers, Amer al Hilal, has a full page article; his diary as a soldier during the Liberation.

It is an awesome article. He brings the liberation period, with its thrills and challenges, to life. He is a very readable writer, and his story is compelling. Now! Right now! Go read the paper! Its YOUR history!

February 25, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Blogging, Community, Counter-terrorism, Cultural, Events, Kuwait, Leadership, Living Conditions, NonFiction, Political Issues | | 8 Comments

Independence Day Sunrise

00wednesday25febsunrise

The sun is there, you can see it reflected in the clouds, but not yet able to break through the clouds. LOL, the weather report for today says “Clear.” We had one big huge lightning strike, and a little rain last night, and – at least where I live – there are a lot of big fluffy clouds in the sky – it is NOT clear. If these clouds gather together, it could get rainy again – not such a bad thing, but definitely a damper on Independence Day celebrations.

Is Kuwait going to have any fireworks – Independence Day or Liberation Day? I mean the official kind, the great big kind?

February 25, 2009 Posted by | ExPat Life, Holiday, Kuwait, Living Conditions, sunrise series, Weather | Leave a comment