With or Without a Bra, the Way You Look at Me Says a Lot About You
The body shop and the meat market, for your perusal.
The body shop and the meat market, for your perusal.(Photo: Sarah Naqvi

With or Without a Bra, the Way You Look at Me Says a Lot About You

My first time was out of sheer frustration.

What happens when you choose to NOT wear a bra? 
What happens when you choose to NOT wear a bra? 
(Photo: Sarah Naqvi) 

The first time, I started work related to the Free the Nipple campaign.

My underwire bra had snapped open and the wire had dug its claws deep into my skin. However, this was nothing compared to the feeling of being ogled at and stripped down, if I were to go bra-less. There was no escaping all of it, if I were to step out of the house, choosing not to wear a bra.

Too caught up to read? Listen to this story:

The Body Shop

The feeling of being ogled at and stripped down is all too familiar. 
The feeling of being ogled at and stripped down is all too familiar. 
(Photo: Sarah Naqvi) 
The meat market down the street. 
The meat market down the street. 
(Photo: Sarah Naqvi) 

The Meat Market Down the Street

How did we get here? How did we arrive at a point where it is so easy to believe that something as natural as a body part is an obvious precursor to censorship and hyper-sexualisation? Can an underwire be an absolute necessity?

How did we arrive at a point where it is so easy to believe that something as natural as a body part is an obvious precursor to censorship and hyper-sexualisation?
How did we arrive at a point where it is so easy to believe that something as natural as a body part is an obvious precursor to censorship and hyper-sexualisation?
(Photo: Sarah Naqvi) 


The female body has been subjected to objectification for so long now, that it is hard to see it as anything but a sexual symbol.
The female body has been subjected to objectification for so long now, that it is hard to see it as anything but a sexual symbol.
(Photo: Sarah Naqvi) 
A slight nip in the air, a second thought to spare? 
A slight nip in the air, a second thought to spare? 
(Photo: Sarah Naqvi) 

There’s something subliminal in all of this that hurts more than the wire under my bra.

Anatomy of a Bra

I have nothing against bras. I simply don't believe in what they stand for. I believe it is merely another way to overtly sexualise a part of us that wasn't meant to be.



I have nothing against bras. I simply don’t believe in what they stand for.
I have nothing against bras. I simply don’t believe in what they stand for.
(Photo: Sarah Naqvi) 
There’s something subliminal in all of this that hurts more than the wire under my bra.
There’s something subliminal in all of this that hurts more than the wire under my bra.
(Photo: Sarah Naqvi) 

Why does a mother need to think twice before breast-feeding her child in public?Instances of her being humiliated keep growing in number.

Our hypocrisy knows no end. There is a veritable treasure-trove of conflicts in the way we see a woman. The gigantic billboards with young girls displayed as mere objects of pleasure don’t seem to bother many, but a mother breast-feeding her child publicly surely does, doesn’t it?

Beauty Lies in the Eyes of the Objectifier

The female body has been subjected to objectification for so long now, that it is hard to see it as anything but a sexual symbol. The more it is altered and projected as perfect and slender, the more it gives rise to a form of self-abasement among countless women.

Let go of it, C’mmon!
Let go of it, C’mmon!
(Photo: Sarah Naqvi) 

The idea, that in order to be beautiful one must possess what the world wishes to see, is partly where the problem lies.

In order to be beautiful, must one possess what the world wishes to see?
In order to be beautiful, must one possess what the world wishes to see?

Free the Nipple, It Is Time

We are a society that is reeling from the effect of years of deep-rooted patriarchy which has created, cultivated and enforced an idea of the 'ideal' woman.

The way you look at me, says a lot about you.

Free the Nipple is a gender equality campaign that was created in 2012 after Lina Esco started filming ‘Free the Nipple’. While the campaign argues that women should be allowed to bare their nipples in public, we believe the message runs deeper than that. We believe that change starts with acceptance. Acceptance that a woman is not just an object of sexual pleasure. Acceptance that women might be built differently, but they’re still the same.

(Sarah is an independent illustrator based in Ahmedabad. She has been working on women’s issues and gender, seeking to question the status-quo and further the conversation. The above piece, while it voices her own opinions, follows up The Quint’s earlier piece on the overt sexualisation of women’s nipples and the discomforting gaze that clothes and strips a woman in the same breath.)

(We all love to express ourselves, but how often do we do it in our mother tongue? Here's your chance! This Independence Day, khul ke bol with BOL – Love your Bhasha. Sing, write, perform, spew poetry – whatever you like – in your mother tongue. Send us your BOL atbol@thequint.com or WhatsApp it to 9910181818.)

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