I remember when I first put on a bra. I “sprouted” early. I was both excited and embarrassed, but it is a cultural precept that once your breasts start to show through your shirt, or your nipples rather, that you must put on a bra. The bra is said to both support growing breasts and provide modestly by preventing them from showing too much through your shirt.
It took me until recently to figure out how ridiculous this sounds. Don’t get me wrong- I’m a fan of modestly, especially as a Muslim woman, and I shudder at the idea of my nipples being on public display, but that’s not to say that I find nipples offensive. Rather, I find bondage offensive.
Yeah, that’s right, I said bondage. In fact, bras are just a modern advancement of the corset. For centuries, women have been maneuvering ways to wrangle their breasts in order that they might jog, perform household tasks…or get the attention of men. Only recently were they touted as a health device, one that might protect our backs or breast tissue.
But no, all of this defies logic, and until recently, our sex driven culture didn’t seem to care, until of course, the French pointed out exactly what we all knew and feared– that bras are actually BAD for us. Sure, they weren’t mis-shaping our internal organs like corsets, but they sure were mashing up our mammary glands and lymphatic systems. No, no, bras weren’t protecting us at all- they were actually PUTTING US AT RISK OF CANCER! (ok, maybe that’s speculating, but it’s the lymphatic system) And what’s worse? They were MAKING OUR BREASTS SAG! Why? Because it’s like an arm that never leaves a sling- the surrounding muscle tissue doesn’t gain strength.
Do you know what else determines whether or not your breasts sag? Genes. Good genes. (And having children…there’s some free birth control for you. You’re welcome.)
So again, why are we wearing these skin pinching, breast gouging bondage devices? Because we want the public to see our breasts like the airbrushed ones (because the times our breasts are exposed in private they sure as heck don’t look like that), and because nipples are considered indecent when shown through the shirt.
Do you know what was considered offensive and obscene to the Chinese? Big feet. So they would mash up children’s feet into tiny bondage shoes filled with broken glass and deform them so they would look perfect. Sound familiar? But we wouldn’t DREAM of cramming our feet into ridiculous shoes, much less our breasts into ridiculous corsetry. Right?
I, for one, don’t give a toss what strangers think of my breasts, and I don’t think my nipples are exceptionally offensive, even if someone were to see them.
So I ditched my bra.
It goes a lot deeper than that, of course. I have fibromyalgia, which is in part caused by a backed up lymphatic system. The glands in my neck and face are perpetually swollen, and I didn’t want to make it any worse. I always thought that I had constant pain in my breasts from hormones, which is typically what doctors tell you. After going braless, I realized…it was my bra. Not to mention the terrible lines and dips I had.
How did I do it? Well, I wore a lot of braless-friendly tops for summers on end. For some reason, tank tops with built in shelf-bras are socially acceptable, and I wore them for years. SO my pectorals were already built up substantially.
But if yours aren’t, there’s no reason why you can’t start small and go braless a couple of hours a day, increasing your time gradually.
And to replace my bras? I just wear cami’s with a shelf bra, or spandex based camis without a lining. No underwire. No tugging. No bondage.
The other up-side to going braless is that camis really smooth out your mom-lumps. You know what I’m talking about.
It’s great. I feel great. Nothing hurts. And I probably won’t get breast cancer now.