Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Browsing for Bikinis

Guest post by Polly Peachum

It’s official; shopping brings out your inner cavewoman. According to the latest academic research from the department of the bleeding obvious (aka Manchester Metropolitan University, who must have been dancing in the aisles when the brief came in), the gathering skills inherited from our ancestors (or ancestresses) enable us to select our preferred items from the vast range on offer. Browsing the lingerie racks is, apparently, a direct link with Ms BC (although she probably didn’t have quite such a wide choice on offer).

Meanwhile, spare a thought for the blushes of female shoppers in traditional areas of Saudi Arabia who, because women are discouraged from working, have to buy their lingerie in male-staffed stores. Although a law in 2006 permitted the employment of female sales staff in lingerie departments, few shops have so far employed them; with male unemployment at 13% and opposition from traditional clerics, the policy is surprisingly unpopular.

College lectureer Reem Asaad is campaigning on Facebook for female sales staff to be employed in lingerie departments and for fitting rooms to be installed; at present women are not allowed to undress in the shop and cannot be measured by male staff. It seems that, for some of the traditionalists of Saudi Arabia at least, a woman's place is in the home wearing ill-fitting underwear.

So Women of Britain, make the most of your freedom. Go forth and gather - but watch out for sabre-toothed tigers!

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