Actually, I don't blame these women. Not one single little bit. I, too, boycott the lingerie shops, here. No point in buying any under "things" in The Sandbox. Every woman knows that there are certain, ah-hem, items that absolutely must be tried on prior to purchasing them. Bras. If there was some universal way to make sure that a 32AA was the same 32AA all over, then it wouldn't be an issue. But a 32AA by one brand may be and is very likely completely different than a 32AA in another brand. [Although, in all seriousness if you are wearing a 32AA you don't need a bra; you need nothing more than an undershirt.] A 36C, for instance, is NOT the same as a 38B. Even if the salesMAN insists that it is. Ah, no. It is not. And, if you are purchasing bras from a shop, here, and a salesMAN tells you that one is the same as the other... or that you should be wearing "this" size instead of "that" size then you are dealing with a man who has completely undressed you with his eyes and managed to see you in your birthday suit under your abeya and your clothing. There is quite enough perversion, here, thank you very much, without having some strange man picturing you naked.
A small group of women have launched a campaign to "push for implementation of a law that has been on the books since 2006 which says only female staff can be employed in women's apparel stores." Small group, indeed. Unfortunately, until ALL women here band together and start boycotting the lingerie stores completely and the bottom line is affected [$$$] absolutely nothing is going to change. It is 2009. I don't know the exact month the law was put "on the books" but I recall reading about it. Here we are, three years later. Men are still selling bras and other under garments. We have some nice lingerie shops, here. La Perla, La Senza, a few others. I'd link to them but they are, of course, blocked. Trying to view something like bras and thongs on-line is considered to be p0rn0graphic and we can't have that!
I've not been to one of the "stand-alone boutiques" that are in some of the malls that have "women-only sections." Can't say one way or another what they have to offer. Very, very little of my shopping for anything but groceries or paint is done in The Sandbox. Supposedly those "shops have no windows to ensure passing men cannot look in - and giving women the freedom to actually try things on." Call me untrusting, but I'm not going to be trying something on in The Sandbox - and especially bras or underwear - where I have to undress. Not to say that I haven't. I did. Once. In a broom closet, because I was not going to pay a small fortune for a bathing suit that could NOT be returned without trying it on first. I left both my bra and panties on when I tried it on - because, well, come on - you're in a dayum broom closet! Who's to say that there aren't others that might have a "view" to that broom closet. I did not buy the bathing suit. It was 700 riyals. $188.00 for a bathing suit? No way! Ever.
Which is why I say "untrusting." How can you be so sure that even in those "women-only" shops and dressing rooms that someone hasn't hooked up some sort of camera or telescope or what have you? A closed society does that kind of thing to your psyche. Of course, I know it has happened in other parts of the world, too, but I just think I, personally, feel a little more secure about the issue shopping at say Victoria's Secret and taking my clothes off to try something on in the States, as to ANY dressing room here. When men do not have the opportunity to see what is quite natural then they are going to go to any extreme possible to get their chance. No. Not all men. But I will have to opine that just with the few instances where young men have gone out of their way to "tsk tsk" or "click click" with their tongues because my head is uncovered and that is NOT the norm, here, is enough to spook me into believing that there can't possibly be a safe enough place to be undressing anywhere outside of my own home, here in The Sandbox.
Oh, and for the record - I think I have mentioned this before - JC Penney does ship internationally and you can try whatever you want on in the privacy of your own home and return it if it doesn't fit. Yeah. Shipping is expensive. It is just part of the cost of living in The Sandbox. Victoria's Secret does, as well, provided you can get to the site. For most of us, however, that site is blocked. The "powers that be," hard at work protecting us from deviant thoughts. Whatever.