BURN THE BRA!
The bra is the modern day corset– hear me out!
Currently we wonder: “Why did women aspire to have creepily tiny abdomens? Often breaking ribs to attain a wrist sized waist?”
“Why did young girls bind their feet, usually breaking a bone or two, to fit into infant sized shoes?”
In the not too far future, I believe we will look back and wonder: “Why did women strap themselves into an uncomfortable wire contraption in order to attain obnoxiously lifted, nippleless humps?”
Bras are a constraining, old fashion garment worn in order to fit unrealistic beauty standards. Our generation has largely retired the traditional brassiere: a garment lined with aggressive padding and structured by stiff metal. Sure, most people have one in the back of their drawer to wear on more formal occasions, but an unlined bralette is the everyday go to. I usually wear a bralette, but sometimes I’ll skip the bra if I feel like it or if the outfit calls for it. To have this choice is a privilege, and I hope when I go into the professional world, this choice remains mine.
Whether in the name of comfort, political principle, or fashion purposes — a lot of women opt to go braless. On a hot summer day, a cropped tank or halter with nothing underneath is practically the Southwestern girl uniform. Any time the sun shines, there are numerous gals strutting their stuff on campus, gleaming with confidence with their chests free of constraint. Of course, there are other people who feel more sure of themselves while wearing a bra. Which is perfectly valid and not regressive in any way. True feminism is about women having autonomy over their bodies. To wear a bra or to not is a personal decision, one that society should not have a say in. Pressuring women to ditch the bra is as unethical as forcing them to wear one.
In highschool, I often threw a hoodie over my top in order to avoid the ongoing, well-meaning, wardrobe war with my mom. Now that I’m in college, she has largely lost the battle but occasionally we fall back into old dance. When I asked my mom why she chooses to wear a bra, she said she feels more confident when she wears one. Explaining, “I [would] like to maintain my breasts and their height if at all possible. I think they look better lifted.” Which is understandable.
(Sidenote: Skipping a bra does not cause your boobs to sag. In fact, it is now believed wearing a wired bra causes drooping because it wears down the breast’s supporting tissue.)
I asked women of my own generation for their perspective on bras, these were their responses:
“When I’m going somewhere I’m not likely to run into anyone — I’m not wearing a bra. For me it’s a matter of choosing comfort, but when I know I’ll be seeing people I wear one because it makes me feel more confident. As a feminist issue, I think the question is: Are you wearing a bra to please yourself or out of insecurity? I feel like a lot of women wear bras to please others instead of doing what makes them most comfortable.” -Millie Krumwiede
“I actually choose not to wear a bra (…) I’m not going to make myself uncomfortable to prevent people from seeing the outline of my boobs and the way I feel about bras in general is: If you want to wear them cool, have fun– no judgment. But I do not like wearing them and so most of the time I do not.” -Micah Giblaint
“I wear a bra everyday, but it’s usually a sports bra. Underwire is just so uncomfortable, I don’t own any bras with underwire.” -Allison Trammell
Overall, women should dress in a way that makes them feel good. Whether you choose to burn the bra, only bust it out from time to time, or wear it daily is up to you. Maybe Southwestern is a braless safe haven and the real world will provide a rude constraining awakening, but only time will tell. For now, I remain optimistic that society will continue to value the comfort of women over unrealistic beauty expectations.