Four Instagrammers Showcase Their Thoughts On #DitchingTheBra
As the lockdown has made bras redundant, four artists share their thoughts on the liberation
A much-circulated joke on the internet in recent months anointed bras as the most unused thing during the lockdown. Over the pandemic, the ‘Free the nipple’ movement evolved to ‘Freedom from bras’, with artists leading the protest on social media. The lockdown curtailed our movement, but millions of women across the country found an unprecedented sense of respite, as they abandoned bras for weeks together. Various digital artists have expressed this sentiment through vibrant artwork, and their followers have echoed the opinion. Conversations revolve around the unbelievable relief at going braless for an extended period, and some even question whether the bra serves any proven medical purpose. We spoke with four artists who are encouraging this change in mindset.
1. AASTHA SAHDEV A.K.A. @aasthapastaa
‘We’ll have to go back to wearing bras after this?’ wonders Roxanne, a character inspired by the 18th-century artist Nihal Chand’s Bani Thani, created by Aastha during the pandemic. Roxanne upcycles a bra as a mask and declares that it’s a better use of the oral, frilly item. And since a visible bra strap is considered offensive by society, she’d rather not wear it. These artworks resonated with hundreds of Aastha’s followers, many asking for a proverbial ban on bras. Through her pop culture-inspired feminist art, Aastha encourages dialogue and debate. “My illustrations are a response to how we are coping with this pandemic every day, as the situation takes a toll on our mental health,” she says.
Artwork by Aastha Sahdev
2. STUTI UNIYAL A.K.A. @stewtea
“The first thing any woman does after returning home is getting rid of the bra and heaving a sigh of relief. If you ever think of stepping outside the house without a bra, just the thought of your nipple-silhouettes showing will make you feel awkward enough to drop the plan. We could be in the lap of nature or wide, open spaces, and yet feel caged and uneasy. All because of a piece of clothing meant for women to cover something in order to suit society’s double standards,” Stuti fumes. The 26-year old NIFT graduate’s art reflects her personal take on people’s conversations and beliefs. A visibly brown, illustrated woman on her Instagram page challenges you to ‘cover your eyes, not my breasts’, and the overall imagery is of flowers acting as pasties, further driving her point home.
Artwork by Stuti Uniyal
3. OSHEEN SIVA A.K.A. @osheensiva
The futuristic oasis created with Osheen’s vibrant work shows a mutant woman lounging on an armchair. “Spaced Out was created during the initial stages of the lockdown and it reflects my anxious and weary state of mind at that moment,” she explains. This narrative of feminine power is a running theme in Osheen’s works, along with a heavy dose of surrealism. “The idea that society has a greater say on how a person should dress or behave, than the person themself, is regressive and outdated. Historically, certain articles of clothing (or lack thereof) have been imposed on female bodies as a tool of oppression and to maintain the level of perceived beauty. It’s about time we have choice and control over our own bodies,” she asserts.
Artwork by Osheen Siva
4. BIANCA CELINE DIANE A.K.A. @ambiancethestudio
The pain of wearing a bra all day, the marks it left on your skin, the weird underboob sweat – I am more than happy to part with it,’ Bianca writes on her Instagram page and confesses that wearing nothing underneath a tee was her best experience of the lockdown. “The lockdown acted as a catalyst for women to go braless and lounge in their jammies, a sort of freedom from societal norms of beauty. I wanted these sketches to substantiate the power of embracing our bodies in their true selves,” Bianca explains the philosophy behind her works. ‘Home is where the bra isn’t’ reads one of her captions, and in a similar vein, she asserts, “I have never gone this long without getting my eyebrows done or my legs waxed, and now I’m not even sure it matters to me.”
Artwork by Bianca Celine Diane