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Curvy, bootylicious mannequins provoke protest
KUWAIT: Male passersby couldn't stop casting lustful glances at the provocative mannequin at one shop in a big mall in Kuwait. A mannequin is a life-size full or partial representation of the human body, used for the fitting or displaying of clothes. Whereas some see them as tailors' dummies, others say that some of them at least are very seductive.
A particularly attractive mannequin with notably voluptuous curves displayed in a shop window in one Kuwaiti mall has attracted the attention of some appreciative young men who have taken to congregating around the display - 'doing their normal window shopping in another style'. Curvaceous mannequins have long been fashionable, but the bootylicious look has become so popular that more marketers in Kuwait are now using new mannequins with plump rumps to sell their apparels.
Marketers hope mannequins with daring derrieres will help them tap into the buying power. Young people spend more of their income on clothes. But there is a notion that provocative-looking mannequins attract male customers. "I think they are coming for the sexy mannequins rather than the displayed clothes. Many have asked me if they are for sale," a Filipina sales lady told the Kuwait Times. She said that many 'guys' have been flooding the shop because of the beautiful mannequins. "Sometimes, it boosts sales, because some men want their women to have that shape," she said, adding, "Brazilian mannequins are the sexiest of all. Guys want to touch them.
Large retail chains and small stores in the Avenues, as well as other fashion outlets, are displaying the voluptuous mannequins with sizeable 'assets.' Driving the trend has been the crossover appeal of curvy booty-shaking stars and the immense popularity of low-rise Brazilian-style jeans.
The latest trend has led to passionate debate and some harsh criticism. Some of the Arab men interviewed voiced out their concerns, saying it is un-Islamic. "This is indecent exposure in another form. It shouldn't be tolerated," said Hassan Al-Rawi, an Egyptian expat (a mullah). While Farouk (a Kuwaiti student) called it ungodly, however, his friend (Ibrahim Hussain) sees it as nothing indecent. "There is nothing in it. I just see it as a statue - that's all. There is no need to make something out of nothing," he insisted.
Recently, the Iranian police issued a warning to shopowners there against displaying female mannequins wearing underwear or showing their curves as part of the government's campaign against Western influence. The Iranian authorities went as far as forbidding men from selling women's underwear. Kuwait introduced similar regulation a few years ago. Tehran recently advised shopkeepers against displaying models with neckties and bow-ties, which are considered Western and un-Islamic.
Many, however, fear that some Arab countries could follow Iran's step. "I pray that our leaders won't see it the way the Iranians are seeing it. It should be seen as an object to promote sales and nothing else," said Fatma Hassan, a Kuwaiti fashion shop owner. Suleiman (a long-bearded Kuwaiti) slammed the fashion shop owners for such displays. He angrily commented, "To start with, they are not even supposed to sell these kind of sexy western clothes here (in an Islamic country). As if that is not bad enough, they are devising another way of corrupting our young people by displaying these sexy mannequins. I wish the government could intervene before it gets out of hand.