The Story of Womanhood — Through the Eyes of a Bra

When I was asked to write a confessional poem, I found an influx of ideas centered around my life. It’s always easy to speak of our misery, our wants and our needs. But I wanted to draw the attention away from myself because I use poetry as a way to give a voice to the voiceless.

In this anthropocentric world, we often neglect the thousands of living and inanimate objects that do not communicate but hold stories waiting to be told. Those stories are sometimes withheld because we don’t want to hear them.

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This is what led me to write, spilling the confessions of what is considered a mere piece of clothing — the brassiere. For centuries, it has been a woman’s aide in its varying forms. This poem is both the product of my experience and others’ influence; it travels through history, sharing the whys and hows of the bra-wearing culture in human lives. This is the story of the secrets that every girl’s bra, a garment worn by women all around, has had to keep.

The Bra’s Apology

It:” is what you always call me, in
derision, in the heat, in the sweat dripping till your feet.
“Yes, it’s uncomfortable but I feel better when I wear it,”
I hear you speak, knowing I am simply a need.
In holding your burdens beside, I realized that
as I hold your heart in myself,
I cannot

I was made to support, but over the years,
I stand to construct your ways, I am
now made to hold you in place.
I stand to show you your state.
I was made to support, but the ogling
stares of men and women have allowed me
to profit from your misery, your hands rushing up
to button the jacket in the crowded buses.

I was made to support, but somehow morphed into
a joke, an insult, a bewitching word, a dark road
and when you would not hold me in your heaviness
Preaching lectures rained upon you, disguised as
Concern, cloaked beneath “care.”

I was made to support, but the friend I was has
Licked off the good money from stores
I made you want zebra stripes, patterns, lace and satin,
until your skin was sore, I confess that the
biggest chunk of your paper notes, it was I who stole.

I was made to support, yet I brought remorse,
Stretching nylon, pulling across your back,
the corset to the rising bosom,
I am as much a frame of mind as I am physical entity,
I am here to tarnish rusty slides of bravery.

I am the white beneath a yellow shirt that turns black
under the red dress when you leave home,
I am the hooks that you struggle to break from,
I morph from flower-printed dazzles in night clubs to
the tearing cotton fibres in a poor girl’s home,
Money or not,
I am forced to be worn.

I confess I was made to cover, I was made for you
to discover
the next boy with lust in his eyes, I was made
to herd the free spirits you had, into their cowering den.
I confess I was made to support, but I was also made to
be your bewitching friend.

Your bra.

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By Spatika Jayaram

Spatika is a fourth year undergraduate student, pursuing an Integrated MS in biology at the Indian Institute of Science Education … Read more ›