Why Women No Longer Want To Wear A Bra?
In the era of “no bra” and “free the nipples” movements, it might be time to question women’s love-hate relationship with their bras.
Back In The 70s
As early as 1968, bras – seen as the symbol of a bourgeois and misogynistic society – were not burned as legend has it but thrown in the trash during American feminist protests. At the same time, Bianca Jagger married topless under her Yves Saint Laurent suit. Women bath topless on the French Riviera. Sonia Rykiel designs thinner sweaters as a second skin, ruling out any possibility of wearing underwear. “Contrary to the hopes of those who, in the 1970s, hoped to be able to free women from patriarchal dictates relating to their ‘feminine attributes’, we are witnessing an intensification of aesthetic injunctions. “We then witness what Camille Froidevaux-Metterie (“Breasts: In search of a liberation “) calls a” remonetization “.
In 1994, Wonderbra made a big splash on the world market with its padded bras that enhance breasts. This is the beginning of what the philosopher and author call “the scandal of breast formatting”, which is also that of “their appropriation by those who know how to make their profit and who prevent women from experiencing and appreciating them. as they are”.
The round and firm half-apple breast with the nipple pointing upwards has since been seen as the ultimate model of desirability. An idea so internalized that it automatically subjects any woman to comparison. How to be satisfied with what we have? For the vast majority of heterogeneous breasts, neither round nor high, the solution remains the push-up or padded bra for breasts considered too small, flattening supports with reducing armor for those considered too large.
The Breast Or The Vulva?
Fortunately, the possibility of breaking free from these dictates remains possible. Since the body is a vector of male domination, it is also a place of emancipation. Two significant movements have also crossed the last decade. Launched in 2012, #FreeTheNipples calls for women to be able to walk topless in public spaces like men. The #NoBraChallenge was born in 2018 for comfort and for feminist reasons. But not all breast forms can easily be freed from their fabric shackles. In addition, “we do not easily get rid of decades of formatting,” notes Camille Froidevaux-Metterie. She observes that the breasts have been little invested in feminist struggles to reappropriate the body in recent years.
Decade Of Formatting Are Not Easy To Get Off
Conversely, the clitoris enjoys unprecedented visibility. We draw it; we mold it; we map it. The uterus and vulva are not left out, and that’s a big step, of course. But why have the breasts generally remained in the dark? Do we know them too well? The finding is all the more astonishing as the breasts bring together all the feminine qualities that have “justified and perpetuated male domination”: a symbol of motherhood, a banner of femininity, and sexual foreplay.
Hide The Breast
If women’s relationship to their breasts is so ambiguous, it is also because it remains impossible to hide. It constantly asserts itself to remind us that the female body is a sexual and maternal envelope. “When breasts grow, and menstruation occurs, whether they like it or not, girls immediately become sex objects in the eyes of the world,” writes Camille Froidevaux-Metterie.
How to go out without fear of stares or inappropriate remarks?
Then begins a long story of subordination to which the solution is concealment. Among the testimonials, the same observation is made: the bra is better without, except when it comes to leaving home. “I love not to wear it, no matter what I’m wearing. But when I go out, I always check to see if it’s more or less OK. It bothers me that my nipples are pointing”(Ophélie, 26).”
I never wear a bra when I’m at home. I find it boring; it’s tight, and it’s not comfortable. But I put one on when I go out. I once put on a see-through bra under a white t-shirt. You could see my nipples, and my pal insisted it was super transparent. I was like, ‘Yeah, I know’ “(Isabella, 30).
In the same poll, one figure is particularly striking: 48% of respondents believe that a woman not wearing a bra runs the risk of being harassed or assaulted. For 20%, the fact that a woman shows her nipples under a top should even be, for her attacker, a mitigating circumstance in the event of sexual assault. “If we had forgotten, we are reminded daily that nipples are scandalous and socially unacceptable.
On the networks, impossible to post a breast without being censored. Breastfeeding in public also arouses public ire.
Almodóvar combined the two in a poster showing a nipple “crying” over a drop of milk. An image was immediately deleted from Instagram.
Does The Breast Need To Be Supported?
“Women haven’t always worn bras. Throughout the history of mankind, they have even spent much more time without than with. “Marilyn Yalom (“A History of The Breast “) recounts that it was in the 14th century that the question of breast support first arose when women exchanged their loose dresses for more fitted coats.
The first patent for the bra as we know it today was only filed in 1898. Before that, we hardly cared whether the breasts would end up in “washcloths” or not. No scientific study has shown the benefits of the bra on the chest. A study published in 2013 on nearly 320 women, particularly about fifty of them aged between 18 and 35 years for 15 years, affirms the opposite.
Dr. Jean-Denis Rouillon observes that “the bra prevents muscle tissue from working, which accelerates the aging of the breast”. Conversely, “breast firmness and firmness improves without a bra.” The researcher admitted that this preliminary study did not apply to all breast “situations”.
The same year, a study by Laetitia Pierrot (“Evolution of the breast after stopping wearing a bra, preliminary longitudinal study on 33 volunteer sportswomen”) looked into the effects of stopping wearing support altogether. -throat during everyday and sporting life. His conclusions? After a few months of sports without a bra, the discomfort initially noticeable in these young women aged 18 to 25 faded (and disappeared in 88% of them after a year) while the breast adapted and straightened. The bra, a false need? “
No Bra Movement
These studies were carried out on young women. Difficult to compare one person to another: the type of breast tissue, the quality of the skin, the history of pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause.” moderates Dr. Isabelle Jeanjot, gynecologist and coordinator of the breast clinic in Braine-l’Alleud hospital France. However, she recognizes that these studies have the merit of raising the question. “We lack figures on the subject. We do not know the real influence of the bra on ptosis (fall of the breasts, editor’s note) and why some women have them and not others.
I have no obligation to wear it, even in sports. It is only a question of personal comfort and aesthetics,” she says. “Women with big breasts are bound to be subjected to more gravity during the ups and downs in sport. They will also have back pain more frequently, but although the bra will help, they will continue to have it. My only recommendation is to wear a bra that is the right size, which does not mark and therefore does not compress. I meet too many patients who are not wearing the right bra.”
The “no bra” movement ultimately refers to a desire widely shared among women to liberate their bodies. Reclaiming one’s breasts also means putting them back in their rightful place as erogenous organs of passion and not “mere objects intended to satisfy male desire”.
Shape Breast in a Bra
Finally, freedom is also to choose at the risk of replacing one injunction with another. Some are, for example, those who love lingerie or prefer the shape of their breasts in a bra. In addition, models without underwires now allow ultra-comfortable alternatives that adopt the breast’s natural shape. “I like to feel supported. I think it’s a matter of habit. Other than sleeping, I’ve always worn a bra. I know girls feel oppressed to wear it, but I find it prettier “(Camille, 27). Therefore, the only question remains whether showing or allowing to guess her breasts will one day become a non-subject.
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