Women have always worn undergarments to please “polite” society.
Girdles. Pantyhose. Corsets. Bras.
All of the above are restricting garments that women have worn through history. Marketing campaigns often tell women that to “look good” they should wrap everything up. Society has only reinforced this silly standard.
“People who insist on conformity in women’s underwear are simply bullying women when saying that only sluts go braless,” Janet Ruth Heller, Ph.D., says.
“That is not a logical argument but an ad hominem attack. In general, I question our society’s insistence on making women wear uncomfortable and impractical clothing.”
And society also has reinforced the idea that in order to be a “good” woman or girl, women and girls must wear undergarments to keep body parts contained. Because if a man even catches a glimpse of an outline of a woman’s nipple, all hell could break lose.
Show a nipple, you’re a whore
In late August, Remy Altuna, a student at Beaumont High School in Southern California, said “she got in trouble for wearing a low-cut top to school,” Teen Vogue reports.
“The vice principal at her school reportedly didn’t stop at punishing her for what she was wearing, she says she also made comments about what Remy wasn’t wearing — Remy got in trouble at school for not wearing a bra.”
The whole incident started when a teacher told the student to put on a jacket because her shirt was too low and she wasn’t wearing a bra. The teacher was apparently concerned because: “I don’t want people to see you and assume bad things about you. I’m trying to protect you.”
Teacher of the year material.
Sadly, this type of braless shaming isn’t anything new.
Kenna Cook, sex educator, thinks society’s issue with braless women is tied to sexualizing breasts and nipples. “The emphasis on modesty equals purity, which equals value, has been a long held belief in Western culture,” Cook explains.
“Women have historically been seen as property or something to be controlled. When a woman doesn’t conform to standards of modesty, she is labeled as uncontrollable and less valuable.”
Cook adds that often, women with big breasts are called sluts even when they aren’t sexually active. “The objectification of female bodies erases the other qualities a women can possess by simply existing,” she says.
“Women and girls are turning into objects for consumption when they exist in the bodies they were simply born in. Sexuality needs to be separated from simply existing.”
Don’t wear a bra, your boobs will basically die
Wendy Gardner, an aromatherapist and natural skin care formulator in England, says she chose to stop wearing bras — she’s a size D — in her early 30s because she found them uncomfortable.
Gardner says she’s now 48, breastfed for four years of her life, and her breasts still look great. “[They’re] slightly lower… [but] my husband loves my braless look,” she adds.
“That fallacy that if you don’t tie them up [that] they will drop down to your knees and [you’ll] have to roll them up like wilted socks is scaremongering by older women.”
Go braless, you’re not “being” a woman right
We recently heard from a breast cancer survivor who chooses to go braless because bras for former breast cancer patients are quite pricey. “Wire bras are not only uncomfortable, but I was told they may damage my implants,” Laura Ann says.
“Bras made for survivors run from $20 sports bras with padding, to nice bras that are $40 or above.”
Sadly, Ann says she receives criticism from women when she goes braless. “[Some] baby boomers are prudish in their view of the female body. I am curious how many really know what a woman’s body looks like after a mastectomy.,” Ann adds.
“I had my mastectomy in 2005 and would be naked in a changing room. Older women I noticed would act weird if they saw me naked.”
Different is wonderful
No woman — no matter her age, profession, or history — should wear a bra to help others maintain their composure.
So, grow up society — your prudishness is hurtful and boorish.