Today’s topic is the bra, the medieval torture device for breasts, and a tool in centuries of oppression of women.
Now, the bra as we know it today wasn’t invented until the early 20th century (Google gives the exact date as November 3, 1914–102 years and 8 days ago today), but binding and constricting the female breast has been around much longer. The reasons for doing so have been varied, but it’s overwhelmingly an oppressive measure taken against the female breast (otherwise those who have male breasts would also be wearing bras, right?) and there are now tons of studies that say wearing bras is actually bad for your breast health (these are just five results related to the search “bras are bad” in no particular order).
I’m not here to say the things that have already been said by so many people; I’m here to break down why we still wear bras/consider it taboo not to wear a bra and to offer arguments on why we should #freethetitties.
So, the reasons that we still wear bras:
1. Bras make breasts “look better.” I mean, if you’re a heterosexual male, the shape that a bra gives a female breast is pretty nice. Although this is highly contradictory to the second reason we wear bras.
2. Breasts without bras are “distracting” to men. Which implies that without the bra, a woman’s breast will draw a [heterosexual] man’s attention more than with. Which kind of implies that they want to see the one without the bra. [of course, all of this hinges on the terrible social construct of “boys will be boys,” which implies that “girls should modify their behavior to ensure boys aren’t bad,” a social construct that is harmful to everyone because it implies that men can’t control their animalistic urges and frequently takes young girls out of school to change into clothing that is less distracting to their classmates, but that’s a story for another Friday]
3. Female nipples are offensive! Like, seriously? They look just like male nipples, but are surrounded with more breast tissue. Plus, female nipples produce life-sustaining milk for infants, male nipples don’t [usually].
4. Over time, wearing a bra has gone from something that was invented as a liberation from the super-restrictive corset to something that smushes the female breast into submission against the will of gravity and nature.
And the reasons why we shouldn’t are numerous.
To start with, it really is bad for your breasts. The muscle tissue in breasts can’t get stronger if it doesn’t have to work. Wearing a bra prevents your breasts muscles from working to get stronger. I mean, there are times when it’s reasonable to wear a bra, such as when doing physical activities like running (because the amount of bouncing that can and will occur while exercising is painful), but other than that, let them breathe.
It’s also usually more comfortable to not. Like, 99% of humans who wear bras will tell you that getting home and being able to take it off is the best part of their day, or at least in the top 10 best parts of their day.
Bras are expensive. Like, it costs $20-$50 to get a decent bra, and that’s just if you’re in the smaller (but not too small!) sizes. If you require “specialty” sizes, such as a band size smaller than 32 or larger than 40 (VS, I’m looking at you), maybe 42 or 44, or a cup size that is smaller than A (i.e. AA, AAA) or larger than D (VS again), or maybe DD or DDD or H, you have to go to a more expensive store, where they will measure you and fit you with a custom bra that probably costs upwards of $75. I don’t know exact costs of these bras, since I fit in the non-specialty bra size category, but I know plenty of people who require “specialty” bras. And you could be using that money for more important things, like food.
Bras usually don’t fit a human the way they’re intended. Because most humans don’t have perfectly even breasts that are both the same size (I mean, I know there’s nearly a full cup-size difference between my left and right which always makes my results come up weird when I get professionally measured) or sometimes breasts are kinda lopsided or crooked-like, most people can’t get a bra that actually fits the way they need for it to look AND feel good. And, like, we should embrace the uniqueness of everyone’s breasts, not try to fit them all in the mold of what is judged to look good by society.
Bras are awkward to wash. Like, hypothetically, you’re supposed to hand wash them or put them on a delicate cycle. Not doing so can cause them to have a shorter life, meaning you need to buy them more often, which means you’re wasting MORE money on them. It’s probably a conspiracy by Big Bras to keep you in a never-ending cycle of wasting dozens of dollars on bras.
In short, bras are basically just another form of oppression of women. Fight the patriarchy by not wearing them. Donate them to charity for women who can’t afford to spend so much on bras, but still feel societal pressure to wear them even in the face of homelessness.
Or wear them anyway. Like, I can’t tell you what to do.
But, most definitely, please do NOT burn them. That’s like a weird thing that can put chemicals into the environment.
The Fierce Feminist