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Why do we hesitate to talk about bras and panties and their usage? Aren’t they essential pieces of clothing, and ordinary enough to mention publicly?
So when the judges of a theatre competition in Delhi, disqualified a team of students, Lakshya, just because they used words like ‘bra’ and ‘panty’ in their performance, should we keep quiet and abide by the strange rules, or should we protest as women?
Recently, on her routine visit, my mother expressed her disapproval of my hanging my bras and panties out on the balcony to dry. She was sceptical about others seeing my undergarments while I was least bothered. She said that when she was young, she was advised not to do the same, since there were perverts who would take them away from the house terraces; girls were therefore advised not to display their undergarments in public even in their own homes.
As long as these topics are talked about in hushed tones, don’t you think curious boys would definitely turn out to be perverts, being misled by the wrong information?
I was subjected to strange looks in my school, (a girls’ convent school), because I had red spots on my skirt. If I had been told that such incidents are okay and bound to happen, I would not have dreaded my body changes in those times. Why do we hesitate to spread awareness among women and also to men about such relevant health topics?
Until I chanced upon the vast knowledge in the form of the internet, I never knew that bras had specification called cup sizes, and that it could make a huge difference in our comfort. During my teenage years we bought them based on the number size alone. And sometimes the shopkeeper would ‘guess’ the size based on his mental assessment of our ‘frontal’ view.
I have also read in health magazines that women rarely knew about the body part called the vagina until they came to meet doctors for childbirth. Very few people would have heard of menstrual cups and tampons in India. Why do we women need to adjust with this limited information?
Today we have shops specific to inner wear, health and hygiene which cater to the needs of women, which clearly indicates that the country is indeed adapting slowly to the vocal requirements of modern women.
Though feminists are looked down upon among men, the fact is, there is a need for women’s activists who raise their voice so that women can live and talk freely about the subjects that matter.
There is a big advertising billboard of men’s innerwear on the flyover besides my apartment, which is clogged with traffic every working day. Obviously it means that there is nothing wrong about advertising innerwear, but the problem arises only when the same clothing is related to the female gender. Remember the lingerie mannequin ban? And the inner vest ads for men which are so popular in promoting ‘macho’ behaviour?
The incidents that occured at the Sahitya Kala Parishad theatre competition can jolt any woman to protest against such gender based discrimination. Representing casual dialogue happening in college hostels, the play by the Kamala Nehru College students, contained references to bra and panty, which did not go well with the judges and the team was disqualified for using inappropriate language.
Pinjra Tod activists protested against this decision by hanging bras on the wall. One of the teachers, Monami Basu turned to Facebook to voice her concerns, and the post went viral. It’s high time that we leave all the embarrassment behind, when discussing undergarments in our normal conversations.
Art and culture have been prominent in spreading information and to raise voices against irrational taboos we have in our society. If we start restricting this creative freedom, how are we going to be more progressive?
Let more voices be heard in support of embracing and expressing ourselves.
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Top image via Pixabay