The human anatomy is a complex organic structure, and is not limited to an exclusive set of acceptable shapes and sizes. For a lot of individuals, their bodies translate to more as something that needs to be shielded and hidden, rather than something that should be appreciated for its diversity. Body image issues stem quite early in young individuals, and at a time and age when external opinions can drastically affect the way they view themselves, body positivity is crucial in building an environment that makes them feel comfortable in their own skin.
Kolkata-based botanical graphic designer, Alisha Dutt Islam, is contributing to this cause in her own uniquely innovative manner. ‘Compliments after Sex’, an illustrated series created by her on Instagram, resolves to expel the myths of the immaculateness of the human body, and is creating a safe space on the platform for conversations on positive self-image.
The series headlines comments received by individuals on their bodies during moments of intimacy –– moments which often require them to make the conscious choice of setting aside their bodily apprehensions. Remarks of a personal nature have the ability to leave a long lasting impression in the minds of people, and tend to stick with them perpetually. ‘Compliments after Sex’ illustrates such comments in the most remarkable format, by camouflaging the human body with flora and fauna that resonates with the nature of the remark.
I. “I didn’t go down on you because you’re too hairy, I hope you came.” - S
II. ‘Saggy Breasts’
The illustrations creatively narrate instances that a lot of the population may have experienced, such as dealing with heavier breasts and being questioned about their sagginess, receiving comments about the inconsistency in coloration of skin in different body areas, or being unable to indulge in sexual intimacy due to the presence of body hair in certain areas. In a very abstract yet coherent manner, ‘Compliments after Sex’ normalises aspects of the human body that are considered atypical, and beautifully disguises them by incorporating nature’s components, such as flowers and plants, into the diagrammatic sketches.
III. “Your vagina is too stinky!” - M
IV. “I have been asked why inner thighs are coloured differently (real dark) when compared to the rest of my body. Questioning my washing routine!”
“It might have been a small patch of skin but the mind set we’ve grown up around made me feel like I was two different people. One who had the same coloured skin all over and one whose buttocks didn’t belong.
For the longest time, I was apprehensive about never being able to wear a bikini or even stand naked in front of someone I was getting physically intimate with.
But over time, I’ve learnt to claim my body and love it for what it is. Dual toned and all.”
Comments made on an individual’s body can trigger them to be conscious of characteristics that are beyond their control.
Body positivity helps create an atmosphere of inclusivity where, regardless of the differences in their inherent attributes, everyone feels confident, and above all, accepted for being themselves.
Check out more of her work here.
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