Women wearing panties on their heads took to the streets of Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Sunday to protest a ban on lacy underwear.
The demonstration, dubbed “Panties for the President,” was sparked by a trade embargo on the production, import, and sale of synthetic lace undergarments in ex-Soviet nations.
The controversial legislation, which will come into force this summer, includes provisions regarding absorption. Come again?
Yes, absorption. The Customs Union — a Moscow-initiated trade alliance between Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus — has deemed synthetic lace panties unhygienic based on their failure to absorb dampness. The Moscow Times, a Russian daily newspaper, reported that undergarments are required to reach a 6 percent threshold for moisture absorption. Apparently lace panties only reach about 3 to 3.6 percent.
The same trade bloc that instituted the ban on undies was criticized in 2012 by then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In an interview with the Financial Times, she said the custom union was moving to re-Sovietize the region under the guise of economic integration.
The idea behind the union is to create a marketplace with no customs barriers.
At least 30 Kazakh women gathered to voice their frustration with the government’s intrusion into their lives, and lingerie.
“It irritates me the most that the authorities want to decide what I should wear,” Iryna Davydenko, a bank manager, who travels regularly between Kazakhstan, Russian and Ukraine, told Al Arabiya English. “As if all other issues in the country are solved and the only outstanding issue is ladies panties.”
Authorities arrested at least three demonstrators, according to Al Arabiya. The protesters were reportedly attempting to place lace panties on a city monument. Dina Baidildayeva, a Kazakh journalist and social media editor at Radio Azattyk, tweeted a picture of the protest and said that two women had been detained.