In the wake of an impending apocalypse, it feels fitting to talk about bras. Why adhere to social standards that demand uncomfortable constriction when the material of your Victoria’s Secret push-up bra from 2016 can be used for toilet paper during the TP shortage of 2020?
Prior to this horrifying and incredibly inconvenient global pandemic, my original intent for March was to celebrate National Women’s Month through quirky and sassy columns about women’s issues; think periods and disappointing sex in a lofted bed in Abel Hall.
However, due to the onset of a viral plague that makes everything seem vaguely Hunger Games-esque, here’s one column about the freedom of not wearing a bra.
About a year ago, I read “Daisy Jones & The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The entire book was a cheesy homage to the drugs, sex and rock ‘n’ roll scene of the ‘70s. The actual book wasn’t life-changing in the slightest. However, part of the book got me thinking about bras and feminism. For anyone who doesn’t know, the ‘70s were the original “free the nipple” decade in which Gloria Steinem and many other activists ushered in the Women’s Liberation Movement that finally allowed women to be viewed as equal to men in society.
For some reason, a book about rock bands inspired me to think about my own role in society and how I view myself and my body. At the time, the biggest statement I could make about the whole thing was to emulate my inner Rachel from “Friends” and ditch the bra.
Over the next few weeks, my confidence skyrocketed. Not only was I more comfortable in general because I wasn’t constrained by ill-fitting wires and lace, but I also found myself finally taking pride in my notoriously flat chest. For once in my life, I didn’t care about the beauty standards that always made me feel inferior about my 36B bra size. Regardless of skeevy side eyes and a lack of physical support, I finally felt I deserved to feel beautiful with my femininity without the constriction of a bra.
From the moment we hit puberty, women are convinced we have to wear something to support our chests — God forbid people know that we own mammary glands for feeding babies and bringing life into the world.
Being shamed into wearing bras seems to me like the first stop on a lifelong road trip of misogynistic rhetoric that tells women they are responsible for people’s opinions of their bodies.
That whole argument seems like a fairly antiquated societal standard for the generation that started #freethenipple. In reality, there are some benefits of going braless, including improved circulation and better posture.
From personal experience, going braless means easier mobility. I’m finally comfortable without any constriction over my chest. Going braless has also made me care less about what people think about my style or appearance. It has helped me realize that I don’t owe anything to anyone, especially an overpriced piece of cloth to support a part of my body that doesn’t need extra coverage.
I’m definitely not an advocate of fervent bra-burning. I don't think that all bras are evil misogynistic tools or that women that wear them are slaves to the patriarchy.
What I am a proponent of is the freedom for women to choose and for that choice to be unfiltered by societal expectations. There is no secret society that will likely shame you for going braless. But after all, people can’t even tell, and if they can, good for them — nipples are fine accessories in any ensemble.
Everyone deserves to live in a body that is comfortable. If that means you never wear a bra again in your life or you spend $40 on one that fits, pursue what makes you comfortable. Love your body for what it can do and how it looks, regardless of social expectations.
At this point, it’s way too early to predict whether or not the apocalypse is actually here. Odds are, it isn’t. But if I’m wrong, would you rather face the end of the world suffocated by Victoria and whatever her secret is, or unbridled and ready to confront the end of the world with no restrictions?