The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie

Malu Halasa, Rana Salam

The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie

Syrian lingerie is racy attire little-known in the west. Manufactured in Syria and exported throughout the Middle East, it blinks, sings, vibrates, and flashes lights, and is adorned with everything from faux fir to artificial flowers and feathered birds to colourful plastic toy cell phones. This sort of lingerie is well known and accepted in Syrian culture, and is openly displayed in the markets and souks - it forms an important part of the longstanding folk traditions around weddings and marriage. Brides-to-be are given it as gifts by their mothers, or buy it themselves; husbands buy it for wives. "The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie" gathers together text and photo essays that introduce and celebrate some of the most outrageous undergarments in the world, and challenge our perceived notions of women, sex, and humour in the Muslim world. 3.7 out of 5 based on 3 reviews
The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Art, Architecture & Photography, Society, Politics & Philosophy
Format Paperback
Pages 176
RRP
Date of Publication August 2008
ISBN 978-0811864589
Publisher Chronicle Books
 

Syrian lingerie is racy attire little-known in the west. Manufactured in Syria and exported throughout the Middle East, it blinks, sings, vibrates, and flashes lights, and is adorned with everything from faux fir to artificial flowers and feathered birds to colourful plastic toy cell phones. This sort of lingerie is well known and accepted in Syrian culture, and is openly displayed in the markets and souks - it forms an important part of the longstanding folk traditions around weddings and marriage. Brides-to-be are given it as gifts by their mothers, or buy it themselves; husbands buy it for wives. "The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie" gathers together text and photo essays that introduce and celebrate some of the most outrageous undergarments in the world, and challenge our perceived notions of women, sex, and humour in the Muslim world.

Reviews

The Financial Times

Siona Jenkins

The volume is surprisingly revealing about a country usually seen through the lens of political polemic... Paradoxically, the authors argue that Syria's lingerie market is supported by "traditional" women, mostly veiled Muslims from modest backgrounds. "The more religious an area is, the more risqué the underwear," says one Christian woman. "Muslim women have less freedom on the outside, so to compensate they have more freedom on the inside. It is the opposite for Christians."

01/11/2008

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The New Yorker

Jenna Krajeski

The book, written and edited by Malu Halasa and Rana Salam, fortifies its collection of essays and interviews with photos, some of lingerie sans model, and some with ladies sporting the wares. The photos are at once lush and garish, and together they serve as a catalogue of evidence documenting the outrageous products of Syria’s lingerie industry.

15/04/2009

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The Daily Telegraph

Joy Lo Dico

This not a heavy book about female oppression. It casts a light into some private areas, but also picks up on the exuberance of Syrian sexual culture. There are bawdy jokes, endless pictures of the lingerie and anecdotes. There's little pornographic about it, and Syrian men come across as sexually naive, and more interested in play.

12/12/2008

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