Sick and tired of men harassing her clients and employees, the owner of a women’s clothing store in Brazil decided to take matters into her own hands and ban them from her shop.
“No men allowed,” reads the sign that entrepreneur and model Andrea Costa hung in the window of her store in a shopping mall in Sao Jose dos Campos, a city of 700,000 people in the southeastern state of Sao Paulo.
“Your pet is welcome,” it adds.
Another sign posted in the store, Mr Luxos, asks men: “Please contribute to women’s privacy and wait on the bench outside the store.”
Costa told AFP she made the decision after countless cases of men making untoward comments and casting lascivious looks at clients and employees in her store, including when she and her staff would shoot photos for online sales in a small studio inside the shop.
“Ninety-nine percent of men behave inappropriately, and it’s impossible to tell which ones just by looking at them. So they’re all banned,” she said via WhatsApp.
Costa, who has more than 250,000 followers on Instagram, has tried to draw attention to the problem of in-store sexual harassment by posting pictures to the social network of men behaving badly.
Men in her store often tried to spy on women in the dressing rooms, or greeted partners trying on clothes with lines such as, “That looks horrible on you,” “You’re not going out looking like that,” or “You’re showing your whole butt,” Costa said.
She said she previously tried luring men away from the dressing rooms by offering beer and video games, to no avail.
The ban has drawn backlash in Brazil, a country with a deeply rooted culture of machismo.
Costa said she and her store had been the target of aggressive comments from men on social media, and one aggrieved male went to the store to tell her off in person.
She isn’t backing down, she said.
“We women all dream of an environment where we can try on clothes and look in the mirror without being harassed,” she said.