United Kingdom

Woman argues it's 'inappropriate' for men to wait outside the changing room in lingerie shops

A mother has divided opinion after revealing her teenage daughter was left feeling uncomfortable because of a group of men sitting in the waiting area of a lingerie shop. 

Posting on the UK parenting forum Mumsnet, the mother explained that when she took her 15-year-old daughter for her first bra fitting at Bravissimo, the teenager felt  uncomfortable because of men waiting outside the changing rooms for their partners.

She said it seemed unnecessary for men to be in the area and her husband would have gone to a different shop if he'd been there.  

The mother racked up many posts agreeing that it's inappropriate for men to be near the changing rooms in lingerie shops, however others accused her of overreacting and argued she could've returned to the shop at a later time. 

An anonymous British woman has divided opinions about men sitting outside the changing rooms in lingerie shops (file image) 

Posting on Mumsnet, the mother revealed her 15-year-old daughter was left feeling uncomfortable during her first bra fitting 

The mother admitted she wouldn't have taken notice of the men in the changing area if her teen hadn't been nervous, saying: 'I went to Bravissimo yesterday with my 15-year-old daughter. The fitting rooms are downstairs and there are some sofas where you wait for your fitting. 

'There were three men sat on the sofas (husbands/partners waiting for their wives/girlfriends I think). One of them has two kids with him. So the women waiting to use the fitting rooms were standing in a queue next to these men.

'This was the first time my daughter had been to a bra fitting at this store and I could tell she was feeling uncomfortable telling her size to the staff and holding a handful of bras in front of these men. I may have been being paranoid, but I think I caught one of the men looking a bit too hard at what all the women in the queue were trying on, but otherwise they just seemed like normal/harmless dads.

'But am I being unreasonable thinking it was a bit inappropriate for men/kids to be waiting outside lingerie changing rooms. If my husband had been there, he probably would have taken himself off to a different shop while we went to a bra shop as he obviously wouldn’t need to be there. 

'If we had younger kids with us, I’d ask him to take them someplace more interesting instead of having them waiting/taking up seats in an underwear shop asking loud questions about bras as one of the kids was.

'I know there’s no shame in shopping for bras and it shouldn’t be embarrassing. It just seems a bit unnecessary for men to be there. I don’t know if I would have noticed or cared if my teen hadn’t been with me, who was already a bit nervous about having a bra fitting.'

Many responses accused the mother of overreacting and said making an issue about the experience will cause bigger problems for her daughter in the future.

One person wrote: 'I think most men realise that most women wear bras. I bought some soft cup sports bras for my 11-year-old while my husband was with us. No one died. What do you think will happen if a random bloke accidentally overhears what size your daughter is? 

Initial responses to the post accused the mother of overreacting and claimed her response could make her daughter have issues shopping for bras in the future 

'I think you need to get a grip. It's just clothing at the end of the day, if you make a big deal out of it so will your daughter.'

'Total overreaction. They're only waiting for wives/ girlfriends. She'll need to get used to it. Men go shopping and if you make an issue of it now it'll continue to be an issue as she gets older. Just don't say anything and if she does I'd just be like, "Yeah men do go shopping'', another said.  

However, other responses to the thread agreed with the mother that men shouldn't be in the changing area.

One person wrote: 'I get your point. No matter how body confident you are and how open you are with your children, teenage girls are going to be embarrassed buying bras, especially their first one.

'By this age most girls will have been leered at, had sexual stuff shouted at them in the street and in many cases groped by men who look very similar to the men sitting benignly in the women's underwear department.

Other responses to the thread agreed with the mother that it's inappropriate for men to be near the changing area in lingerie shops 

'I used to work in a lingerie section in a department store and can assure you that we regularly had problems with men hanging around unnecessarily or passing by frequently to try and catch a glimpse of embarrassed young girls with bras/knickers in their hands. I don't have a solution unfortunately, but I understand where you are coming from.'

Another said: 'Some of the comments on this thread are a disgrace - it's as if some people live in a bubble. As a previous poster said, breasts are the most fetishised body part. Any teenage girl will have been subjected to staring, lewd comments, possibly groped.

'Saying the poster is being unreasonable and passing her embarrassment or whatever to her daughter totally deflects from the oppressive male gaze that women and girls are constantly under. 

'It's not a dress shop where an opinion is needed. No need for men to be hanging around and making your daughter uncomfortable. And shaming you and her for feeling so is victim blaming.' 

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